Monday, September 23, 2013



Todd and my Dad
Late 1980's.

Our nephew, Todd, lost his battle with melanoma this past week.

We were hoping for a miracle but that was not to be.

When we went to Arizona last month, it wasn't for a vacation.

It was to say goodbye to a brave, strong and much loved young man.

And brave and strong he was.  The doctor told him he had two to three months to live and he wasn't that far off in his estimation, although the coma part that he talked about didn't come to be.  That was good but that was  only a portion of the miracle we were hoping for.

Todd had been diagnosed with melanoma last year, and after surgery, he was declared free of cancer.  He had regular check ups since and was doing fine until his last MRI when lesions in his lungs and then in his brain were found. He had brain surgery and when he was well enough to leave the hospital, his parents went to Virginia and brought him to the family home in Arizona. On the way home they visited a few of the states that Todd hadn't been able to see during his many travels for USA Today and his job.

Todd was optimistic and enjoyed life up to the end and he has set the bar very high for the rest of us when we find ourselves facing any kind of adversity.


Todd lived with his parents; my brother, Bruce and sister-in-law, Meg and his sister, our niece, Kristen, during his early years of high school and college in Clovis and Fresno, California. He graduated from Fresno State and took jobs with a couple of newspapers in the state. He then went to Virginia and was hired as sports design editor and photographer for USA Today/Sports Weekly.

He was a great sports enthusiast and dearly loved the San Francisco Giants.  He was so happy to be able to attend a Giants game just two weeks ago in Arizona with two of his good friends.  That was a good day.  He was in attendance at the White House after the San Francisco Giants won the World Series.

This shot of Todd taken from Face Book, courtesy of one of his friends. I hope whoever took it won't mind that I used it. It is such a good picture.

If you might be interested in seeing Todd's great talent for photography, sports and journalism, you can visit his website and blog:  

Todd was honored by the Morristown, Arizona, Fire Department recently, where he was outfitted with an official suit from the Medi-Vacs and taken up for a ride on one of the Medi-Vac helicopters.  That was another good day.

Todd and his dad, Bruce, 
 on the steps of their home in Fresno. 
Photo taken around 1990.

Todd was a soft spoken, talented and a highly intelligent young man. He had a big heart and everyone thought very highly of him. He enjoyed his career and because of that career, he was able to travel around the United States and see the country and meet some important people in the sports world.

He had so many friends.  How many, I really wasn't aware of until I looked at his Face Book page.  He was so fortunate to have known and cared about all these wonderful people that loved and admired him. Above all else he loved his family and took great pride in his nephew and niece, John and Amanda.

Our nephew, Todd, and our son, Brent.

Here are two young men who were taken way too soon.

Our families and friends will mourn their loss.

They will be forever missed and always loved.


Courtesy of Pinterest

"You can shed tears because they are gone,
Or you can smile because they lived.
You can close your eyes and pray
that they'll come back,
Or you can open your eyes and see all they have left.

Your heart can be empty because you can't see them,
Or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can remember only that they are gone,
Or you can cherish all the memory you shared,
And let them live on.

You can cry and close your mind,
Be empty and turn your back,
Or you can do what they would have wanted:
Smile, open your eyes, love and go on."

Author Unknown

R. I. P.

We love you.

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Sunday, September 22, 2013


"When the trees their summer splendor change to raiment red and gold,
When the summer moon turns yellow,
And the nights are getting cold;
When the squirrels hide all their acorns, and the woodchucks disappear;
Then we know that it is autumn,
Loveliest season of the year."

Carol L. Riser, "Autumn"



What the title of this post means is this:  Not too much has been done in the way of decorations this fall at the Cottage.

We have a lot to think about this season, not to mention that I have been feeling really lazy this summer.

I haven't gotten any fall bulbs planted for spring and I lost a couple of beautiful mum plants this year and didn't replace them.  We will have some fall color, thanks to the neighbors to the side of us, but nothing spectacular.

I haven't gotten to a few projects that I wanted to do inside yet, but still plan on those getting done sometime in the foreseeable future.

So, until that time, here are a few vignettes that I have set up around the Cottage in honor of the season.

Jake (age 3, now 19), our grandson, and his sweet mama way down yonder in the punkin patch.

To start, I've included a photo of one of our trips to the pumpkin patch that we would go on every year when Jake was small.  I know, you're thinking, here she is bragging again, but he WAS small so it fits right in!

A woodland brunch table set for two.  The glass plates are from the Dollar Store and decoupaged with ModPoge and a paper napkin.

A little something on the dining room buffet...

...and the dining room table.

The little wooden cart was picked up in an antique store many years ago and the little primitive horse, which I love, I ordered from a catalog.


I wanted to decorate with all real pumpkins this year, but when I started, and went to the store with them at the top of my grocery list, I found out it was too early so I dug out the fauxs and here they have stayed.

I did show you the wreath I made a couple of posts ago.  Here is the rest of the entry vignette.  I now believe that I am collecting lanterns.  This is one that I picked up at Hobby Lobby on a 50% off sale.  I just loved the chippiness of the paint finish and the flower and vine embellishment around the sides.

This lantern was a Christmas present from the  Captain last year.  I really think it is pretty but after falling in love with the one I bought at Hobby Lobby, I decided to embellish this one too, when I saw this tin flower at Ben Franklins.  It was the same color as the lantern and all it took was a little dab of hot glue to make it even more beautiful in my eyes.

I had to do something to the front porch so when I saw this little piece of rug at Ross, I just added some faux burgandy hydrangeas in the Captain's left over non-alcoholic beer bottles and stuck some fall color into the mix.

The front door decoration is from last year, which started out in the spring with just yellow forsythia branches and then went through to fall with the addition of seasonal appropriate faux flowers.

The happy bounty from a little fall shopping spree.  Beautiful mercury glass pumpkins and harvest themed napkins from Home Goods.

I know you all are gearing up for fall and everything I've seen so far is amazing.

  We knew we were expecting rain this weekend so...

...we cleaned out the gutters. The Captain cleaned while I just held the ladder and took a weird picture of the falling leaves... so bring it on...

Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa, on Food Network..These are sooooo good.

...while we stay warm inside eating our chicken pot pies.


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Tuesday, September 17, 2013


I know it's a mite early to be talking Halloween, especially since Autumn hasn't even made its official entrance yet.  But...

I have a story to tell..

That just won't wait..


You must know by now how much I love to tell a story.

"Halloween, Halloween,
Oh, what funny things are seen.
Witches hats, coal black cats,
Broomstick riders,
Mice and...(wait for it)...
...BATS...(that's right)...BATS...

Have you ever seen the business end of a bat?

I'm not talkin' baseball here.

I'm not talkin' those old wives tales about how you look up in the sky at dusk and those evil doers are flying around and you cover your head before they can swoop down and scalp you or suck the blood out of your neck faster than you can say Robert Pattinson.   

No, I'm talkin' up close and personal.

While you are sitting in your own living room.

Watching the Housewives of New Jersey.

I don't normally go in for old wives tales but, believe you me, this one I....

How did the sweet magic of Christmas get into this story?

That's better!


It was no different than any other night.

The Captain and I were all snuggled into our cozy couch watching a favorite TV show when he offered to get us a snack from the kitchen.  I paused the TV while he left the room and as I'm waiting for him to come back, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a movement.

I turned my head and saw it again and immediately jumped up and SCREAMED, "there's a bird in the house!"

The Captain came running, not because he was worried, but because he knows I would die, pretty much, at just the idea of a bird and myself in the same vicinity!

He closed off the room and hollered for the broom.

Because, you see, by this time, he knew what I didn't.

It wasn't a bird.

It was a bat!


I brought him the broom and my hero killed the bat, but he now had two hysterical females on his hands.

One who won't sleep with her head outside of the covers and one who was peacefully asleep on top of the bed, but after hearing a crazed person screaming, and seeing a determined man wielding a broom, won't come out from under the bed!


I called the Office of Bat Control the next morning and she said we should have just opened the door and let it fly out.

Yeah! Sure thing! Miss Suzy Sunshine!

It looked small, could it be a baby bat?  Could there be a bat nest close by and would a bereaved and revengeful mother bat come back to make us pay?

These are the questions I wanted an answer to but all I got was it probably came in following a moth. No, mam, I don't think it was there to turn you into one of the living dead. Yeah, right!! 

I know better!

Just so you believe me!

We don't know where it came from or how it got in the house.

No one remembers leaving a door open, or at the very least, admitting that they left a door open!  And so...

...that is the story of how Halloween came early to the Cottage this year.

Some might say we have bats in our belfry...


It was a bat out of hell...

But one thing still really bothers me...

The Captain was awfully fast about calling for a broom...


   This post was not intended to offend bat lovers anywhere, ha ha!

Halloween Song...written by Abbie Farwell Brown

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