Monday Morning Millie

Monday, August 24, 2015

"Yummy! I just love the marshmallow filling!"

Secondhand Sunday

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sundays are my Secondhand day. I'm basically too lazy to think of anything new to say so I re-post a "vintage" entry.

If you aren't in the mood for repeats, please feel free to change the channel.

"You're becoming a woman"

Original post date: September 20, 2013

An old woman, that is.
Remember when you were 11 and your mother told you that your body would start changing and that you would experience weird and wonderful things? Fast forward 37 years and replace "wonderful" with horrifying.
I've always prided myself in being able to read the teeny tiny print on anything. While people were lamenting that they couldn't see what it said, I would snatch whatever "it" was out of their hands and proudly proclaim the contents. Poor sap. I can't believe they can't read that.
Behold the poor sap.

Yep. I bought my first pair of reading glasses this week. Last year when I went in for my annual eye exam, the doctor suggested progressive lenses. That's the new catch phrase that they give 40-somethings to make bifocals seem hip. I wasn't buying it.
"No, thanks. Don't think we're quite there yet.", I said, inwardly wondering where I could find a compact size magnifying glass to keep in my purse.
I lost the magnifying glass so I decided it was time to get the glasses. They're only a 1.00 which is the lowest magnification so I don't feel too bad.
Oh, wait, yes I do.
Now I can't make fun of my sister for  squinting or peeking over her glasses to read the menu. And did I mention she's thinner than me now?

Gosh, karma really IS a bitch.

And there were 5

Thursday, August 20, 2015

They say to be careful what you wish for. Of course, this adage never comes true when you wish for money. Or maybe that’s just me.

I always feel bad for my 8 year old cat, Vinny,  because the poor guy has to tolerate three barking, gluttonous dogs on a daily basis and I think to myself how nice it would be if I could get him a buddy. But he may not interact well with an older cat and I don’t really have the patience for a kitten so I don’t act on it.

A few days before I moved back into my old house, Millie and I stopped by to drop something off at the house around 10:30 at night. Millie’s really good off leash so I opened the car door to let her out. She took off!
She ran into the neighbor’s driveway and I saw her approaching a small black and white something. Oh crap, I thought to myself, we’re gonna get skunked again and I found myself taking inventory in my head of whether I had baking soda, peroxide and Dawn on hand to de-stink her.

As I approached, a tiny kitten came running toward me, mewing and mewing. I picked up the little tuxedo kitty and starting rubbing it on my face and giving it kisses (with no thought of whether it had fleas or not) when I heard mewing coming from the direction of the car in the driveway. There was another one in the wheel well of the neighbor’s car! This one was black and super skittish so I was having trouble just finding it in the dark while holding the other one.

Long, story, short…I ended up taking them both to my friend Michelle, the cat whisperer’s house. I really had no intention of keeping either one but, what can I say? He needed me!

Say hello to Georgie!

Booyah, Skye Terrier!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

You know I have to acknowledge that a Beagle won the Westminster Dog Show! For only the second time in history, my favorite breed is the top dog.
The last time was in 2008, shortly after I got my beagle, Bernie, and you would have thought that she had taken the title. I was a proud beagle Momma!
Congratulations, Miss P!
These are my best in show. Millie, Sophie and Dino.


F-You, black ice!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Wow, I can't believe that it's been two months since I posted anything! SO much has been going on. The job is great, in spite of some drama with the black sheep that no one likes. But that's a whole 'nother story.

You all know how very clumsy I am. And how many times I've slammed my big toes into my dining room table and sprained my ankle(s) and found odd bruises all over my body that I don't remember incurring.

WELL......this one takes the cake!

I'm sure a lot of you are experiencing the brutality of this winter and if you're fortunate enough to not live in a snowy region, you still can't escape the headlines on the daily news of snow, snow and more snow!

On January 19, I took Dino and Millie out for one last potty before going to bed around 10:00. It was super cold, snowy and icy, so we didn't venture out much further than a quick trip to the tree lawn. Millie wandered into the neighbor's (who moved out a few months ago) driveway and started heading toward the street. I followed her to guide her back when I slipped on a patch of black ice at the end of the driveway.

I lost both leashes and the dogs took off running toward the house. "Shit. Another sprained ankle." I thought to myself as I started to get up to hobble toward the house, calling for the dogs. Only this time, when I tried to get up, a pain shot through my left leg and I fell to the ground again. I knew right away that I had broken something. I watched the dogs running back and forth across the yard and I was worried that they would run into the street. I tried to get up again. Horrifying pain once more and I fell back down on the ground.

I screamed for someone to help me but it was 10:00 at night in the middle of the winter. Windows are closed, furnaces are running and TV's are blasting. No response. I was hopeful when Dino got his leash stuck under the big trash dumpster in the neighbor's yard. I was sure that someone would hear his barking and come outside.


I dragged myself across my front yard, grabbing chunks of snow and ice for leverage. I pulled myself up my steps into the house. Luckily, Millie followed me but poor Dino was still stuck. I called 911 and when the paramedics got there, the first thing I asked them to do was go get Dino. Only when I was sure they were both securely in the house, did I let them take me to the hospital.

I broke my fibula, which is one of your calf bones and I sprained my ankle. They put this loose thing on it, but I could even stand up because the pain was off the charts, even after taking Oxycodone.

They then applied a fiberglass cast from my ankle to mid-thigh. Still hurt like a bitch but at least my leg couldn't move. NIGHTMARE to get around my house and try to do anything. I had to use crutches so I couldn't even take my glass of water into the other room with me to take a pill.

I headed to an orthopedic surgeon the next day, who confirmed the break but said "If you're going to break something, this is the best bone to break." Yay.

Apparently, its a pretty common break for athletes and it has a pretty quick healing time. That all sounds good, right? Fast forward to two weeks ago when I followed up with the surgeon and he took the long cast off. Thank GOD.

Bad news. I have some serious nerve damage and can't lift my foot. It's a condition called foot drop. "Maybe it will come back, maybe it won't. We just need to wait and see." As you can imagine, I completely freaked out. There's nothing you can do to speed the process. It's more of a waiting game. I wondered why I had this shooting pain along the front of my shin and now I know, it was from damaging the peroneal nerve, which is part of the sciatic nerve. He said we'll give it about 3 months and see where it's at before we decide on next steps. i.e., physical therapy, surgery.

I'm wearing this lovely boot that I probably would have been able to take off by now if it weren't for the nerve damage. I still have crutches and a walker. A WALKER. I've really only used the walker a few times. It's not really functional around the house.
Fuck my life.

Tomorrow: Chrissy gets fitted for a brace.

Monday Morning Chrissy

Monday, December 15, 2014


This is what a set of slippers look like in a house with dogs .

No Lunches with Lisa

Sunday, December 7, 2014

If you've been following me for a few years now, you know I used to have a regular feature called, "Lunches with Lisa". Lisa is my older sister and we found ourselves working at the same hospital, just a few floors apart and started having lunch together regularly. It was nice because we've never been especially close but this gave us the opportunity to become closer.

Fast forward to 2014. Neither of us work at the hospital anymore and we not only don't have lunch together, but we don't even speak. My parents had the foresight to put their house in both of our names long before either one of them got sick. That was to ensure that if they needed nursing home care, we would never lose the house if funds ran out.

When Mom died three years ago, we debated about what to do with the house. Lisa wanted to sell it but I wasn't really ready to let it go and it was so outdated, that we wouldn't have gotten anywhere near what it was worth anyway. We decided that I would move into it, rent my house out and pay Lisa "rent" since I couldn't afford the chunk of change to buy her out. I would then sell my house when the market turned.

I took about a year clearing out all of my parents' clothes and possessions (with no help) while I still lived in my house, paid my mortgage on that house and paid taxes and utilities on my parents' house. Then, assuming I would be living in the house for a long time, I put on a new roof, new windows, updated the bathroom, carpeted the family room and refinished the hardwood floors. I moved in back in 2012.

My sister decided to make a career change after not working for a few years and now works for a doggy day care. She really loves it but unfortunately, they don't pay squat or benefits, so she's struggling. That's what happens when you don't work at all for two years. About 11 months ago, she demanded that I sell the house and I refused. I told her that I was paying her as we agreed and that I would sell the house in a year or so before I moved out of state.

Not good enough.

She calls me a few days before my payment is due to her to "remind" me, which I find insulting. The few times that I had to pay a few days late resulted in some insanely ugly exchanges between us and now we barely speak at all. I bought her a birthday present in April and she said that I should have given her the cash instead. I didn't even get a card for my birthday.

A few weeks before Thanksgiving, she left me a message saying, "Go ahead and make plans for Thanksgiving, I'll be working." It annoyed me but when Thanksgiving got closer, it just saddened me. I didn't tell any of my friends that I had no plans because I didn't want a pity invite. I called Lisa around 3:00 to wish her a Happy Thanksgiving and what do you know? She was home. It was the first time in 48 years that I didn't spend Thanksgiving with family and it was heartbreaking.

As much as I don't want to, I've decided to sell my parents' house. My renter's lease is up in a few months so I'll just not renew it and move back in there. I really can't afford the expense of moving right now but I feel backed in a corner. I'm hoping that I get back some of the money I put in with a higher sale price but the market still isn't great so it's not likely. It's going to be difficult moving into a smaller house with an extra dog and I'm worried about Vinny trying to make his way back home to this neighborhood to hang out with all his buddies.

It's just a lot of headaches but I want my sister back.

Monday Morning Dino

Monday, November 24, 2014

My poor Dino has a had a rough couple of days.
We here in Cleveland got socked with snow followed by an ice storm. I took him out for a walk on Thursday and when he came in, he was limping. I looked at his paw and it was all red and inflamed between the pads. He wouldn't let me touch his paw and he howled in pain. My sweet Dino never complains about anything.
So I made an appointment to take him to the vet that day. My  new manager was SUPER understanding and let me leave for an hour and half to take him. When we got there, they took him in the back and I could hear him just wailing in pain. It was awful!
When the vet brought him back, he said that he thinks he has a puncture wound which could have been caused by the ice. He told me to keep and eye on it and he gave me pain meds and antibiotics. Dino being Dino still barked his head off when he smelled another dog in the waiting room.
"Ms. Starr, would you mind taking Dino to the car and then coming back to check out?"
Ahhh...the life of a beagle mom.
The swelling has gone down but he's still limping so there might be something actually impacted in his paw. If it doesn't get better tomorrow, I'll have to take him back for x-rays.

Secondhand Sunday

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sundays are my Secondhand day. I'm basically too lazy to think of anything new to say so I re-post a "vintage" entry.

If you aren't in the mood for repeats, please feel free to change the channel. So funny to read this again. My little stinker hasn't changed much!

"Monday Morning (Peanut) Dino"

Original post date: August 15, 2011

So...about Peanut Dino.

Much like an overweight person who watches the Food Network, I spend my lunch hour perusing homeless Beagles on I just can't seem to stay away. On this particular day, I came across this ad:

Peanut is approx 4 years old , neutered and up to date with shots as well as heartworm and flea control . We have been hoping his separation anxiety would subside with time but we have had him a year and seems to have gotten worse . We also have a baby on the way and it's just too much for me, and I don't have the time and energy he deserves and requires. He is excellent with kids of all ages and other dogs. His temperament is actually very laid back (until you leave )! lol He would probably do best with someone who doesn't work long hours or not at all. Let me know if you can help ... i'm running out of time and cannot bear to take him to the pound : ( Tracy

He needed me! Now, I was torn because it was so soon after Bern and I almost felt like I was betraying her. And the dynamic with Millie and Vinny seemed to be working so I didn't think I should rock that boat, either.

Well, then I went to see him and it was all over. He was TOO cute for words and when I sat on the ground, he climbed into my lap and put his head on my knee. Game over.

Knowing that he had separation anxiety (like Bernie did when I first got her), I did all the things that I had done for her.

Comfort Zone plug in:

"Pheromones emitted by animals through their skin and glands are natural chemicals that help them to communicate with others of the same species. When your dog or puppy senses the pheromone, he feels secure and comfortable, reducing his fear reactions and his urge to act out destructively through chewing, excessive barking or house soiling."

Bach's Rescue Remedy for Dogs:

RESCUE Remedy® is the #1 natural reliever of everyday stress. It is a blend of five of the 38 Bach® Original Flower Remedies and is proven to be as helpful with animals as it is with people. For an immediate calming effect in any tense or stressful situation, or when your pet needs help overcoming a variety of emotional or behavioral problems.

Creature Comforts CD:

Just Chillin CD:

Since work has been so stressful lately, I took one of the CD's to work with me but it ended up being a little awkward when I tried licking my balls during a meeting.

I was armed and ready for Peanut Dino!

Or so I thought.

The first night, he chased poor Vinny ALL NIGHT LONG.

"Wake me when he stops chasing Vinny."

I thought, oh boy, he's got to go back. But Vinny being the cool cat he is, put him in his place and told him how it was gonna be.

Now, Vinny's even sleeping in Peanut Dino's bed.

"What's that, Dog? This is your bed? Ha! You mean, this WAS your bed."

Day one of being alone, Peanut Dino went into my pantry (with a broken latch on the door) and ate a entire box of Trader Joe's dog cookies and a bag of Beneful treats.

Day two, he knocked over the kitchen garbage and tore the grill off the bottom of the refrigerator. And his collar was nowhere to be found. I still have no idea where it is so he's wearing Bernie's girly collars.

Day three, I drove up and only saw Millie in the window. When I opened the door, I heard a distant, Woooooooo....Wooooooooo....

He must have been sniffing behind the door in my wardrobe room and locked himself in. This is what the window in the room looked like:

I thought to myself, well, at least he didn't chew on my clothes or shoes.

Day four, here he is in the window as I drove up.

And if you look closely, there's my Born sandal on the window sill behind the couch. So much for not chewing my shoes.

Day five, I bent down to kiss him and thought, hmmmm....he smells like chocolate. When I went in the kitchen, there was hot chocolate mix all over the floor.

There's no way he's four years old. If anything, he's two. His behavior is way too puppy like. I wasn't sure if I could do this but he's so darn cute and cuddly when he's being good that I guess I'll keep him. He seems to be keeping Millie young and maybe he'll liven me up, too!

Not again!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Okay, I know it's not Secondhand Sunday, but I bit my lip again today and decided to share the history of my lovely (?) bite with you.

Published July 9, 2009

I was eating an apple tonight and bit my lip. In the same place that I've bit my lip at least three other times today and twice yesterday. I know people who occasionally bite their lips or tongue. I, on the other hand, do it constantly because my bite is so misaligned. I've even considered having my jaw broken and reset.

When I was young, the dentist suggested that I get braces.

"There's nothing wrong with her teeth, Jean, we aren't doing it," my father argued.

"Maybe there is, though," my mother replied.

"Ridiculous! They're just trying to make money. Crooks!"

Here's a picture of me as a child.

My parents were both Depression era babies and still think a loaf of bread should be a nickel. My mother isn't as bad as my father who thinks everyone is out to screw him. When I told him about Bernie and how much the tests were to diagnose her, his response was to get a second opinion to be sure the vet wasn't just trying to make money off us. Crook!

My father's frugality brings us back again to my continually swelling lip caused by my ridiculously uneven bite. I've always been a voracious masticator so it generally doesn't take more than one chomp to do damage. Once, I had bitten down so hard that I thought I was going to pass out from the pain of my self-inflicted wound. My lip swelled so large and turned so purple that when I went to work the next day, I lied and told everyone that my neighbor's dog had bit me. Woof.

Each time this happens, I touch my finger to my lip to check for blood, mutter "son-of-a-bitch" and then hold my finger out to gaze at my latest DNA sample. My father will still argue to this day that I have beautiful teeth because I never had braces.

Yes, I am glad that my teeth look relatively normal from the outside since all the damage lies inside where no one can see it.

Sort of like what happened to my soul. Thanks, Mom & Dad.

How sweet the sound

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I've always been mesmerized by crickets. I look forward to late August when they start singing their beautiful melodies that lull me to sleep. I even have a "cricket" option on my sound machine. 

Now there's additional proof of just how amazing their melodic harmony is. I just turned around and saw Dino standing at the door, head tilted to the side. He likes it, too!

Take a listen~

Well, hello...

Sunday, November 16, 2014

I can't believe that it's November and that I haven't posted anything since July. I've had a challenging 4 months, to say the least.

I think I told you that I went off my anti-depressants last year around the time I left my job at the hospital. I struggle with wondering if that was such a great idea. I've gone to some very dark places in recent months and that hasn't happened to me in a really long time. I was working three jobs: Hallmark a day or two a week(yes, they pulled me back in), the senior home health care place every Saturday and then my part-time weekday job as an office assistant.

To say I was miserable would be an understatement. I LOVED LOVED the weekday job; the people were awesome and the hours were great. The pay? Not so much. Which is why I had the Saturday job. But it became increasingly stressful and the hours sucked. I had to leave my house at 7am and I got home around 5:45 or 6:00. The dogs were crabby, I was crabby. Lose-lose.

The kicker came when one Saturday, a caregiver called me and she was noticeably upset. Her client, a hospice patient, was admitted to the hospital a few days prior. On this Saturday, the caregiver called to say that the patient was actively dying. I asked her how she herself was doing and if the family had been called. She hesitated and starting quietly crying. The children had been called but they were choosing not to come. So this 78 year old woman was dying as she held the hand of a stranger who was crying into a phone. I sobbed when I hung up and had to compose myself before I could take the next call. I knew I had to make a change. I wasn't just physically tired, I was emotionally tired.

I had no life. I worked six days a week and on my day off, I was too drained to want to see anyone. I started actively looking for something new and even applied for a few administrative positions at hospitals. (Oh, no, she di'int!).

I did.

But then I knew that I couldn't go back to the stress that I had before and I started thinking about what would be "fun" but also pay me a good wage and keep my stress level low.

I found it!

In college 20 years ago, I leased apartments and I LOVED it! It was so fun to meet new people and help them find their new home. The downside was that it was six days a week while I was in school full time and trying to have a relationship. Something had to give.

So, long story short, I started a job last Monday at a luxury apartment complex that's 7 MINUTES from my house. I can even come home at lunch to let the dogs out.

And listen to this! The luxury apartment market is so strong that they just finished construction on a new building an another phase will be completed in August, 2015. Who knew??

The first week revealed a little drama but, you know me, nothing that I can't handle. I'm playing nice-nice for now but if the one person who works there (there's always one) doesn't change her attitude, I'll need to show her how to play nice in the sandbox.


It's a great job with full benefits. Bye, bye Obamacare. Which, by the way, I love. But I digress. That's another post. Oh, and did I mention that in the initial phone interview, she told me that they are always looking for talent that is willing to relocate to other areas. Guess where the other areas are?

South, y'all!

I was super tired last week because even though I was working 40 hours a week spread over 6 days, it's different to go back to 8 hour days. I actually fell asleep on the couch three times!

I hope to catch up with you all as soon as I settle into this new routine. xoxo

Monday Morning Millie

Monday, July 21, 2014

"What do you mean, you're out of Xanax?!"

Secondhand Sunday

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sundays are my Secondhand day. I'm basically too lazy to think of anything new to say so I re-post a "vintage" entry.

If you aren't in the mood for repeats, please feel free to change the channel.

"Do you see what I see?"

Original post date: August 27, 2013

I'm a self proclaimed Gladys Kravitz and for those of you who don't know who that is, she was the nosy neighbor on the television show Bewitched, that ran in the late '60's until the early '70's. Gladys was always peeking out her window to see what was going on in the neighborhood. 

I do the same thing. 

If there's a car I don't recognize parked down the street or I see a police car's lights, I grab one of the dog's to "go for a walk" so I can see what's going on. We used to make fun of my mother for being like this but I guess the apple didn't fall too far from the tree. 

And the fact that I watch far too many crime shows doesn't help things and it just points my imagination to the worst case scenario. I stopped watching these types of shows after Starsky and Hutch was cancelled and only recently started watching them again.

I used to think Starsky was dreamy and my sister had the hots for Hutch. She even bought David Soul's album. The things we do for love. At 12.


I was in my family room on Sunday when I looked up and saw a man just past my property line, bent down in the bushes and digging. There's a field behind my house so it's not that unusual for people to be there playing baseball or soccer.

But there were no games going on.

"Oh my GOD! He must be burying a body! And in the broad daylight. He must be on drugs."

I called Millie, threw a leash on her and  "took her out for a walk." 

I slammed the back screen door, hoping he would be startled and take the body somewhere else to be disposed of but he didn't hear it. He was on the far left side of the property so we walked along the far right side.

As we got closer, he stood up and I heard "beep.....beep....beep.....beep"

"Oh my GOD! He must have a bomb! Why does he have a bomb in broad daylight? Maybe he buried the body and now he's going to commit suicide by blowing himself up!"

There's a large patch of overgrown bushes at the end of my yard and so, Millie and I hid behind them and very slowly peeked around the hydrangeas, eyes wide open so as not to miss any details that I would later be reporting to the police.

This is what we saw.

Um.....never mind....

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