Sunday, December 27, 2009

Miss Pepper has started to show signs of her age this winter. She's 11. We're trying her out on Rimadyl to see how that goes. She's been having real problems with stairs, and since we live in a split level, it's all stairs here. Luckily it's only two steps down to the back yard and she can manage that. But getting her out for walks is a challenge. She can manage going down the front steps to the street side of the house, but won't go down the family room steps to get outside UNLESS my husband's the one taking her out. She'll do it for him, not for me. Getting back in is twice the problem. Won't go up the front steps, won't come in the side (unless Hubby takes her, and he has a bad hip so he usually prefer me to to the leg work with her. So we either go through one side or the other to get into the back door. I nearly lost my shoe in the mud (it's either mud or snow here in winter), but we got her back in the house. Poor old girl! (the dog, not me!(

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

We've had a bit of a hair-tearing time here. Pepper is doing well. She recovered very nicely from her bout of Kennel Cough and Pneumonia. (I'll be damned if I leave her at THAT kennel again!)

Hubby was due to have a hip replacement. We had it all lined up and then the bank called to say they'd cut our credit limit to zilch on the card we were going to use to pay for living expenses while he was recovering. So we had to post pone it until we can save up enough scratch to cover day to day expenses while he gets back on his feet and back to work. It's hell to watch him limping around, even with the aid of a cane. The family will not help, so we're on our own as usual. (God, forbid the inlaws ever need anything. One must drop everything and run the moment one is summoned!)

At least my cardio exam and stress test went well. Yes, I am a strapping old girl! LOL! The doctor asked if the stress test treadmill wore me out. I said, heck no! I felt great and could have gone a half hour on the thing if they wanted. On the down side he did tell me not to 'nosh', but I am down ten pounds from my last visit. (I want to know exactly how I managed that. Is candy corn now a veggie?)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Nearly All Better!

We got her through pneumonia! Pepper is MUCH better. The awful coughing and gagging have stopped, although she still sleeps much of the time. Her strength is coming back gradually, but she was up to playing with me yesterday in the back yard. We still have a few more days worth of pills to give her, and I have to check back with the vet, but it looks like our girl has recovered! YAY!

Thanks for everyone's thoughts and prayers.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Adventures with Pepper and the Nebulizer

This time, the nebulizer treatment was success. First of all, I fixed the leak in the unit with a little glue and plastic wrap. Yay, Go me! I put 30ccs of saline into the cup, attached the mouthpiece and turned the unit on. She looked a little amused and listened as I told her how Chris used the thing and now it was her's. I sang along with the ipod, cradled her head and held the thing next to her nose. She was very good and lay there, breathing in the moisture for ten minutes or so. She stopped coughing and is breathing easier. SUCCESS! So cheers for Pep for being such a good dog!

Monday, August 31, 2009


We took Pepper to the vet. She doesn't have Kennel Cough. She has Pneumonia.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

We went to an out of two wedding last weekend and put Pepper in her usual 'weekend away kennel'. Wouldn't you know it, Ms Pepper has come down with a case of Kennel Cough, even though we have her vaccinated each year. Called the emergency vet clinic and they didn't want any part of her as long as she wasn't in distress (which she isn't).

So, the old baby is doing a lot of coughing and horking up phlegm (it's regular white or clear), and sleeping. She's still eating her regular meals, begging for treats and interacting with us, so she's not terribly sick- just uncomfortable.

Ack. Nothing worse than a sick dog.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

MZ Pepper again

Last week, Pepper was sick again. Not eating, not drinking. This went on for two days. I called the vet and she told me if Pep didn't improve that day, bring her in. Pep just lay on the couch. She as having trouble holding her water. The house smelled like dog pee and Pep was totally depressed about it as well as not feeling well. We sat with her, we hand fed her, we offered her everything she liked. Nothing. No luck. I was preparing myself mentally to say good by to her. We really feared for the worst.


The next morning, Pepper was up and awake with us. She was ravenous. She ate and drank, and kept it all down. She ran around the back yard, stopping to shake herself throughly every minute or so. SHE'S BEEN FINE SINCE! What ever it was, she got over it. And the peeing in the house stopped.

I am SO relieved!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Dog, The Spaghetti and The Rug

As you know, Pep has been sick, and we've been doing just about anything to get her to eat. She has to have food mixed with her med, so I try to get her to eat some before I give her the capsules. This morning I took the leftover spaghetti and meatballs from the fridge and put it on the table. Then I grabbed her dish from the floor that contained the kibble she refused to eat. I thought I'd mix a little bit of it with her kibble since she LOVES spaghetti. Pepper (my dog) came barreling into the room just from the scent of the food. She's a moose of a dog, and she knocked into me AND the table. The container of spaghetti went flying and, wouldn't you know it, landed on the floor, upside down. ON THE RUG.

Needless to say, the dog was totally delighted, even though I didn't let her get much of it.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Miss Thang and her opinion.

Pepper (aka 'Miss Thang') is usually a mellow soul. She's independant, which is good because we travel in connection with our biz. However, since she's been recovering from the nasties (a urinary track infection), Pep has been uncharacteristically clingy. My hubby, Bob, has been away during the evenings this past week. He hasn't had the usual evening routine of 'sit on the couch with the dog'. Pepper missed that. A LOT. So much so, she got a little peeved with Bob.

Last night, he came in late after working a concert gig at Caramoor ( ), and went right to bed. We had been settled about five minutes when Pep started barking to us at the foot of the stairs. If she wants something, she usually comes up and breathes in my face to wake me. Not last night. She just sat at the foot of the steps and YELLED. I got up and went to check things out. She had plenty of water, but by Bob's usually place was a dark spot on the rug. Pepper showed her displeasure by peeing on the floor in front of where he sits. It wasn't much, just a piddle-reminder. PAY ATTENTION TO ME reminder.

I pointed to the spot and gave her a firm 'NO!'. She sat there and, dammit, she was LAUGHING at me.

I think we have learned the true meaning of 'pissed off'!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Pepper has not been doing to well. She was started on Clavamox this week because of crystals in her pee, then last night she fell off the sofa and twisted her leg. She seems fine this morning, but it sure scared us. Poor old baby. =(

Friday, July 3, 2009

Ms.Pepper is feeling better and is back on her food. Her poo is still a bit on the nasty side, but I'll just wait to see if it improves.

I really think her being off her grub is a direct connection to my son's illness. He's doing better, she feels better.
Pepper seems to be back on her food. She didn't want to eat this last week. I think it's because my son has a bone infection and having dental treatment for it. (Local dentist told him there was NOTHING WRONG and he shouldn't be in pain. Found a dentist in the city who took him RIGHT AWAY and has been treating him for a month for this 'nothing wrong with you' bone infection) Pepper's been at his side every moment. He's had real progress the past two days so Pepper is feeling better too. This morning, when I took her out, she stuck her head in the kibble bag and grabbed a snack. =) =) I'm glad she's back to her old self.

STILL Have not heard back from the vet - have to call him today and see what gives!

Monday, June 29, 2009

My son started his new job today. He was out of work for nearly ten months. He's doing managerial/admin/computer tech for a philanthropic foundation in NYC. I'm so glad he's not working corporate any more.

Pepper's been barking and frisky this morning. She's saying 'Woohoo! I don't have to be quiet anymore!'

Friday, June 26, 2009

Picky Pepper

Hubby brought home a bag of dried chicken fillets for Ms. Beast. You'd think he'd just given her the best present in the world. Now, she turns up her nose at any of her other treats - including the oatmeal-peanut butter dog cookies I bake for her. (yes, I bake for my dog!)

I had her out in the yard for a while this morning, tossing the ball and frisbee around. She decided to take the frisbee and hide in the bushes with it. I called and called. She just sat there, laughing at me, knowing that I won't walk through the part of the yard (between her and me) that is one giant mud puddle. Finally I said 'Do you want some chicken?' Zoom! She sure can move fast for an old dog!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I FINALLY was able to get a pee specimen out of Mme. Queen. I dropped it off at the vet's and the new receptionist took it and brought up the chart. He said the urinalysis wasn't paid for yet, so took out my plastic. $64. He processed it and gave me the print out. I went back to the car. I'm glad I looked at the printout because it had this on the paper:
Name: Pepper
Species: FERRET (!!!)
Weight 1.5 lbs.

I went back into the office and said to the guy:
'Uh, this isn't my pet. She's a DOG.'

'Oh, oops!' He ran the computer thing again, this time by my name in stead of my phone number, and up came Pepper's chart. The urinalysis WAS covered in the senior health check. So I got a refund, and everyone had a good laugh.

A 110# ferret is indeed a frightening thing!

This is my son and Pepper. You can see how large she is.
chris & dog

Monday, June 15, 2009

We took Miz Pepper to the Vet this morning. It's a two person job. Just getting her in the car when she KNOWS she's headed for the vet's is a job and a half. I even moved my seat forward to get her inside the car. That made a bit of space so she could get in, then hop on the seat. That accomplished, there was much shedding and panting till we got there (it's only a mile away). Once we arrived, she didn't want to get out! After five minutes of shoving and coaxing, she hopped out, shook herself and trotted along side of me to the animal clinic door.

The place was empty. I registered her and handed the receptionist the poo sample bag. Dr Young came out and he saw her right away. Pepper was very good while he examined her and talked to us. Then she trotted off with him to the vet techs in the back so that she could be given her blood tests, vaccinations, etc. Miss Thang may be a pain in the neck to get in and out of the car when she knows she's going to the vet's, but once she's there, she's fine.

The vet brought her out and tried to get her on the scales. That was enough for our Miss Thang. She totally flattened herself and would not budge! He asked me if I could get her on, so I walked her around, had her do a few 'sit' and 'down' commands, so she'd know who's boss (ha ha) then I led her to the scales. Plop. Down she went. So I tugged a little under her collar, and the vet gave her rump a boost, and she got on the scales. 110. That's good, she's down ten pounds, the new food is working!

We paid for the visit with a credit card and hid our shock at the price.

Pepper decided she had enough excitement for one day and declined a trip to Petsmart. We brought her some dried chicken strips as a peace offering. =)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Last night we had a particularly LOUD thunderstorm. Miss Thang had the pee scared out of her. Literally. I looked at Pep and said 'did you do that?' She looked back. 'So? It was loud thunderz. It fell out'.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

For a little, extra special treat for Pepper this evening, I rubbed a little bit of peanut butter on her chewy bone. She was VERY pleased. When she was finished she picked up the bone, carried it to me and dropped it at my feet. Refill, ma! Please!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Pepper does THE MOMMA thing

Why were the Robins going nuts yesterday afternoon? Pepper had one of their babies. She had it between her front paws and was giving it a very gentle bath. She was totally oblivious to the dive-bombing parents. I took it from her and put the fledgling back in the lower branches of the yew.

Silly old girl. She did that last year too. Find a baby bird. Give it a bath. Bring it into the house. !!! At least this year I got to her first.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Why does it take only seconds for computer to crash and HOURS to restore and back up?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I finally got around to putting in the tomato plants. Mz Pepper is NOT happy. She sat and watched and kept coming up to me with an expression of 'Why are you doing this, Mom? Don't you know I like to dig there and lie there?'. When I was finished, she inspected my work. Yes, I grabbed her before she plopped down in the new tomato grove. Heh. But she was not pleased.

Monday, May 25, 2009

I had a huge computer crash. The sort of thing that everyone fears and eventually experiences. I got a virus warning and I shut off the compy. When I went to turn it back on, NOTHING HAPPENED. I mean Absolutely Nothing. My computer had become a paperweight.

Luckily, my son is living with us till he gets another job. Even luckier, is the fact that he is a top-knotch computer tech. It took him two hours, but he got the computer to accept a systems restore disk, and then we reformatted it. I am now adding files that I had backed up.

Pepper is doing her thing, supervising the world and is frisky at age 12. She's not happy that I'm planting a container garden this year. She much prefers to help dig out a garden, and is specially helpful at transplanting.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

What's up with that dog?

Pepper, aka The Voodoo Queen, did something odd the other night. Being half Border Collie, doing odd things is not out of the norm but this sort of threw us. Pep was sitting on her couch (Yes, she has a couch, it's falling apart and no once else can sit on it, and we can't affort new furniture). Hubby and I were talking and suddenly she nodded her head vigorously. It only lasted a second, but it was very odd. She hasn't done it since. She's fine, no seizure or weakness. Just that head nod.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Maternal whinging

Chris, my adult son, has been out of work since August. He knows he's lucky to have a place to live while he's down on his luck. He's a computer tech (class a), and has worked in both the business sector and in the private sector as an Ed Tech for private school. He has a degree in CS, and credites towards a Masters. And he need a job very badly and is willing to relocate. Things are THAT tough.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Smiley-faced take-out food bags and The Queen

We had Chinese take-out last night. I had (and still have) one of my killer headaches, so the guys helped out. Pepper always enjoys it when Daddy or Chris 'Cooks'. That means when they get take-out. She waited for them to come home and then bounced to the table for her traditional fortune cookie. Yes, the dog gets the fortune cookies. It's a rare enough event, so I doubt if it's bad for her. We read her the fortune (yes, she listenes) then she gets the treat.

I have no idea why, but the bag was left on the table while we had supper. It was at Chris' place since his order was in the bottom of the bag. When he cleared the table after we ate, the bag still sat there. Pepper saw it and stared at it. She sat staring at the yellow smiley-face. I guess she thought it was telling her that more good things to make her tummy happy were inside. She wouldn't take it from the table but waited for me to do that. When I did put it on the floor for her, she gave it a sniff inside and sashayed back to her couch. Hm. I don't think she'll believe those smile-faces anymore!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

LED lit sheep and Border Collies

This is a wonderful youtube vid for anyone who loves Border Collies or herding.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


The springtime birds have arrived. Robins, House Finches and Red-Winged Blackbirds have come to chase old man winter away. =)

The Robins are the first to arrive here. I usually see them the first week of March. Red-Winged Blackbirds, to me are the true heralds of spring. They arrive a few days before the vernal equinox. This year, they are early. I heard them last Monday. It's always a thrill for me when I hear that familiar "oak-a-lee!" call followed by the burr.

I heard my first House Finch of the year this morning. Maybe winter really is on the run. =)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I have an old fashioned ear-ache. The kind you get when you are a little kid. Only I'm not a little kid. =P At least now I can pop a couple of Advil instead of having some vile-smelling oil dripped into my ear.

One of our son's friends got an English Bulldog. He named her 'Ducky'. She is white, very sweet and friendly. He had her bathed at Petsmart and they put pink nail polish on her and a pink ribbon! LOL!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Computer issues

This morning, I uploaded lots of updates for my computer. Updates for Vista (yeah, I know. Just the word makes me want to toss my bytes and chips), and an Intel driver. After lunch I installed the entire mess. I hope this fixes the compy. I don't want to have to go thru all the crapola of using the restore disk. *headdesk*

Monday, March 9, 2009

Nodame Cantabile
If you're a music student, you should read this manga. If you know a music student you should read this manga. It's like being 18 again and at Curtis. Heh, only in Japan. Sort of. But it's funny and very true to a music student's life.
Helped hubby with a harpsichord restringing today and proceeded to slice up my fingers. Typical. Not that I'm doing a lot of typing, but I am knitting, and knitting with sliced fingertips sux.

The harpsichord we are working on is a super little Flemish, not a single crack in the soundboard that I could see. Once we are finished it will have nice big voice and stand up to a choir or instrumental group. It's the same generation as an instrument in our care that has a soundboard with more cracks than a plumber's convention and a lid painting of penguins.

Anyway. This is a small picture of our concert instrument.

Friday, March 6, 2009


snowdrops 3

I love snowdrops. When we moved into our house, I planted a few snowdrop bulbs and some crocus bulbs on our front lawn around the magnolia tree. The tree has had a lot of bad luck lately, lots of limbs broken over the past two years because of storms (one storm took out our 40' blue spruce), but the snowdrops have spread like wildfire.
This year there are more than ever.

The snow left by the storm last Sunday night has melted for the most part, and the snowdrops were peaking out. So I took a photo. Good thing too, because today, the snow has melted totally (yay!), so I was able to capture the moment.

Saturday, February 28, 2009


This little guy is 'Toby'. He's my Mother-in-law's dog.

We spent the afternoon with her today. Tomorrow is her 92nd birthday, and she's doing wonderfully. She's actually in better shape than hubby or me. She has a condo in a gated community in upper Westchester. The sort of place that is in House and Garden, instead of Shed and Backyard. =) She lives close to her daughter, has a car, shops, drives around, goes to needlework club, and has a good live. She got a bunch of plants, and has everything she needs, so we took her some Glenn Miller cds. She was very pleased.

It was a good day.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday - Pancake Day - Mardi Gras - or, as my mother always referred to it, Faschnacht. My mother was raised by a German speaking Pennsylvania Dutch grandmother on a farm in Skippack Pennsylvania. Faschnachts are a big, rich cruller. They are fried, split and eaten with butter and syrup. A good dose of indigestion, but still manna. =)

To celebrate, I'm posting a photo of my mother as a child, in the fields, with her two younger cousins. I love this picture.

Kate as a child
All four of us are sick- hubby, son, me and of course, Pepper. Hubby came home from a concert gig with a tummy ache. He went right to the bathroom and camped out there for an hour. Pepper's guts were rumbling somethign fierce. Son was just listliss, then he got the tummy ache. Today Pep's fine, and we're all recovering.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Yesterday, we had snow; not much just an inch or so. During the night the temperature rose. When I let Pepper out into the back yard for a morning romp, I noticed the snow on the wild rose vines had melted into droplets. The morning sun was just at the right angle to turn them into sparkling jewels.
morning jewels

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

There are some things that tie us to our ancestors besides a name. Baking bread, making a pie from scratch, knitting socks are three things I share with my paternal great-greatgrandmother. I know she did these things, because her son kept a little journal the year he was nine. He talks about his mother baking the family's bread from flour he brought home from a mill. He mentions pies on the windowsill, cooling. He paints a picture of the family in mid winter around the fireplace - his father reading aloud to the children while his mother knits socks. The family dog is curled round his mother's feet, under her skirts, warmed by the fire and protected from the drafts.

I have two books that were in my greatgrandfather's childhood home. The family Bible and the family Dictionary. Both are huge old books, the words fading, the paper disintegrating. The books won't last past my son's generation.

There are other things that tie me to these hardy folk from Maine. When my father's uncle died, he inherited a box of deguerreotypes. These early photographs are mirror images of my ancestors. There's one of my Great-greatgrandmother as a child. Here it is. This is Emma when she was a little girl.
Mary Emma Bisbee
I was amazed, but very happy that these old, old images scanned.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Pepper was in a musical mood tonight. We had songs after dinner.
An aria by Pepper

Monday, February 16, 2009

All last week, our fortepiano was rented out for rehearsals of Haydn's Creation to be performed at Carnegie Hall on Sat the 14th. (Nothing like a good rental fee for Valentines day! LOL) I went along for a rehearsal, knitted while I listened and inwardly singing along (the last time I sang this was at Lincoln Center for Mostly Mozart 20-some years ago) and son Chris helped hubby schlepp the fortepiano on Saturday.

Here's the Fortepiano - a copy of Mozart's last instrument - a 1785 Walter. Ours was made in 1990 by Jacob Kaeser.

The piano behaved beautifully, but the real story was that the tenor soloist got sick and they had to find a replacement at the last minute. The ringer, Nicholas Phen, is a phenomenal young man with quite a career ahead of him. Evidently he had never sung the work in German before and pulled it off so beautifully that THE TIMES even mentioned his diction. (The chorus and especially the soprano really LACKED in diction. I'm only mentioning this because I sang with Robert Shaw and he was a stickler for diction)

ANYWAY, it was a wonderful show, and THE TIMES gave it a positive review.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

I've been knitting like a mad old thing. I've knitted five hats since Dec 1st. A cozy hood-like thing for my friend in Indiana, a warm hat winter hat for me, and three hats for three little kids that I know.

Miss Pepper continues well. She is not happy that it's been snowy and icey and we haven't been able to go for many walks. But spring is coming, 47 days away. And we'll have walks then.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snow! Actually ice and snow. We are blessed with electricty and heat. Pepper's been a very good girl, not demanding a walk, knowing her Mom does NOT do well on ice.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The most shocking things ever found inside a dog's stomach

I am so glad Pepper doesn't do that sort of thing. In her puppyhood she was a real piece of work. She ripped up the kitchen lino, she tried to rewire the phone line, she took the cabinet door off yet she was housetrained at 10 weeks and never intentionally pee'd or poo'd on the floor once she graduated from newspapers. (Unlike our old Beagle who expressed her anger by squatting and peeing while staring us in the eye!)

Pepper still rearranges furniture once in a while. She'll pull the cushions from the couch or actually push the rocking chair or the coffee table to a different spot- but she's part Border Collie and we just crack that up to Border Collie-ness. =)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Holy crap! A US Air jet went down in the Hudson River today! Very happy to report that everyone survived. The last news pictures were of the jet, still floating, tied up at a Battery Park dock. Very surreal.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A cold front came roaring in around 3:30 am. Pepper started barking at the wind and when no one would pay attention to her, she searched out Chris and jumped on him. Let me tell you, he did not appreciate 100 pounds of Border Collie/ Lab in his face at that hour. He yelled at her. She yelled back. That's the one thing about Pepper you don't want to do, pick an argument with her. She'll win every time. Another thing she does is bitchslap you. Sitting on the couch talking to someone and ignoring her? She'll sit next to you, lean back and belt you one with her paw. She's a very determined pooch.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Sheep Tea Cozy

Oh, and another thing. Even though I'm still doing battle with the hat, I've set my sights on knitting
THIS sheepy tea cozy. Is that cute or what?
And so I've started knitting again. SERIOUSLY knitting. The old Yarn Luv has taken over again. Heh. I'm making a hat from the Ravelry.Com site. It SORT OF looks like that picture on the pattern. o_O

Pepper is enjoying the yarn, too. It's called let's steal the soft, squushy skein from Mommy's knitting basket or let's find a ball of yarn and toss it around the room. I think Border Collies could learn to knit if they could just get around that lack of thumbs thing. =)

Friday, January 2, 2009

Home again

Survived three rehearsals, two concerts, one snow storm and a van that refused to start.

The van thing was enough to make you want to tear out your hair.

It was fully loaded, ready to transport the concert gear to the theater in Pittsfield - and it refused to start. Turned the ignition and - click! That was all. There was a wild exchange of phone calls between us and the concert promoter. We finally tracked down a drummer whose friend had a 'van'. The van turned out to be a Dodge Caravan - a small one. Somehow we got the harpsichord, the stand and music desk into the thing. I still have no idea how we got that 8' long instrument into it! We got to the theater with an hour and fifteen minutes till curtain. Yes, the show went on!

Afterwards, we stowed the instrument and gear backstage. We had no idea how long it would be there, but at least it would be safe. This morning, we called a mechanic. He checked it out, tried to start it - still nothing. Then he put it in neutral and turned the ignition! VOILA! It worked! So we drove to Pittsfield, got the instrument, then drove the three hours home.