Archive | February 2013

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Rainbow Colors ~

I’m learning so much in the process of participating in these challenges!  Who’s idea was this?

This week’s challenge with Cee is “rainbow colors” with at least four strong colors in the photo.  Here are my submissions:

Rainbow over our back yard

Rainbow over our back yard


Sign outside Rudy's Restaurant, Oswego, NY

Sign outside Rudy’s Restaurant, Oswego, NY


Hot air balloon over our back yard.

Hot air balloon over our back yard.


Can’t wait to take a look at what everyone else has posted!  Thanks, Cee!

Till next time, TTFN!  Tamara Eckstadt

Cee’s Share Your World 2013: Week 9 ~

Cee’s questions for this week are:

How do you write: computer, longhand or other?   In today’s world, I do most of my writing by computer ~ but I prefer to write longhand and do so every chance I get.  I have been told I have wonderful handwriting.  Indeed, I began “practicing” my handwriting in 6th grade, and it does tend to be impressive.  (pats self on back!) 

Irregardless of your physical fitness, coordination or agility:  If you could play any sport professionally what would it be?  Or if you can’t picture yourself playing sports, what is your favorite sport?  Any sport related to horseback riding.  I used to ride when I was in school, and owned horses.  They are an amazing animal, and I bonded with mine as many do with dogs and cats.  I think I’d like to ride in the Olympics, or any type of show jumping.

If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?   Quilting is my current love.  Not only does it allow me to release my creativity in endless ways, but also to make others happy with my creations.  What could be better than that?

What subject was your favorite in all of your schooling? Why?  Well, my entire high school years were devoted to “business”, as I knew exactly what I wanted to do when I graduated.  All of the many classes I took in relation to my degree are my favorites ~ I cannot pick just one, as they encompassed each other.  Typing and Shorthand were my absolute favorites.  I also had courses like Accounting, Business Math, Economics, Office Procedures and others.  One other “honorable mention” I want to put out there, because I’ve seen a couple other bloggers mention it, is that I loved English ~ because I am a grammar, spelling, punctuation obesessive/compulsive.

P.S ~ After almost 35 years of being out of school, I can still take Shorthand at about 120 wpm, and type around 130 wpm.  I do have occasion to use my Shorthand, and I type verbatim business meetings on a regular basis and then transcribe them.  Now THAT’s fast!


Thanks Cee!


Mugwump ~

My "interpretation" of a Mugwump.

My “interpretation” of a Mugwump.

My Dad often called me “mugwump”, and just as often I’d ask him, “Daddy, what’s a “mugwump”?  He’d tell me that it was a little bird that sat on a fence with its mug on one side and its wump on the other.  The answer always made me giggle.  To date, I still remember it and it still makes me smile and giggle just a bit.  I think it’s the memory of the cheerful, mischievous tone in his voice when he answered my question that gets to me.

I adored my father when I was little.  I was the “baby” of my four siblings ~ the “baby of the family”.  But I can remember following my dad around wherever he went just to “see what he was doing”.  “Daddy, whatcha doin’?” I’d ask.  He’d say “Something to make little girls like you ask questions.” (with a grin)  From my father I learned the intricacies of gardening, what certain tools were and how to use them (like the lawn mower and grass clippers!), how to make peanut brittle from scratch and how to make the secret family recipe of “punch” ~ reserved mostly for weddings and such gatherings.  He also taught me, through his actions, how to respect and love my mother… which he did on a daily basis.  He adored my mother until, after 50 years of marriage, she passed away in 1994.  He followed her in 1998.

I think of him often, my mother too.  I remember all the ways he showed me he loved me without ever saying it, really.  Too many things to put into words ~ but they’re memories etched into my mind forever.  I’m glad I have them!  Love you, Daddy.


My Mom & Dad.

My Mom & Dad.

In Memoriam: Doug the Slug ~

Doug enjoys the pool.

Doug enjoys the pool.


I never thought I would have to put one of my pets “down”, let alone be writing in the aftermath of seeing him euthanized.  I mean, it’s just a cat after all, right?  C’mon, it’s just a cat.

 We had two cats:  a black cat, Phoebe, that my husband had prior to our marriage.  Then in 1999, one year after our marriage, he got me the Siamese cat, Sumi, that I had wanted.  However, I wanted a “lap cat”.  Phoebe made it well known that she hated me.  I was a usurper of the man she had to herself since she was a kitten.  Sumi, being the persnickety Siamese breed that she is, was too proud and nonchalant to be wasting her time on someone’s lap.  So, we decided to visit the local SPCA to see what they might have to offer in the way of a lap cat.

 The SPCA was quite full with cats who wanted/needed to be adopted.  I had been around cats all my life, but particularly liked Siamese, or other “unusual” breeds (Persian, Burmese, Himalayan, or even calico).  A white, long hair cat immediately caught my eye, but the husband saw this grey tabby that was just sitting quietly amidst all these meowing, milling felines.  We both pleaded our case to each other for the cat we wanted, but the grey tabby won out in the end.

 Going through the adoption process, we found the cat’s name is “Doug”, and that his previous owner was an elderly man in an apartment who said that Doug meowed too much and was too loud for his neighbors.  As calm and unassuming as he looked, we figured Doug would be a good, honest lap cat, so we finished up the paperwork for the adoption.

 That was about 9 years ago.  Doug turned out to be not such a great lap cat for me, as he fell in love with the husband’s lap instead.  When the husband did not want to host Doug on his lap, I got sloppy seconds.  When we brought Doug home, we were concerned and waited to hear this awful meowing that his previous owner gave him up for.  It never happened.  In fact, Doug would look at you when he wanted to be fed, and he’d open his mouth and nothing would come out!  Sometimes he just made a squeak.  He was the quietest cat I think I ever knew!

 He was the most loving cat.  He especially took a liking to our Golden Retriever, Jammer, and would habitually cuddle up with the dog in the dog’s bed and rub himself all over the dog’s face and lick him up and down.  They often slept all night together.  His relationship with our two other cats, however, was less amiable.  However, this low-maintenance feline was endearing, and although I tried not to show it, he had captured my heart.

 When we brought Doug home, he was “hefty”… his belly almost reaching the floor as he walked.  And he was less than ambitious, to put it kindly.  So we nicknamed him “Doug the Slug”, but he seemed happy with it.  Just a year or two ago, Doug started losing weight and having trouble with repeated ear infections, so off to the vet at the Purr-fectPlaceAnimalHospital.  Dr. Fine had been our vet since 1998, and the husband took Phoebe there since she was a kitten.  We trusted him.  He discovered that Doug was obviously unable to eat the hard cat food we’d been feeding our cats because he no longer had any teeth!  At the same visit, Dr. Fine confirmed that Doug was approximately 15-16 years old ~ quite an elderly feline.  The ear infection was treated and we were advised to feed Doug canned food from now on.

 He seemed to regain his weight, but continued to have recurring ear infections that were quite nasty.  Again I took him to Dr. Fine just a couple of months ago, and the diagnosis was a tumor in his ear canal.  The prognosis was not so good, and Dr. Fine said to take him home and make him comfortable for whatever time he has left.  He said we could “talk euthanasia” at some point in the future, if we wanted to.

 Doug’s health began a downward spiral.  He ate canned food, but his weight fell off and he became less and less active.  Finally, he stopped eating and no longer used the litter box (he just didn’t go).  He spent most of his days sleeping in what appeared to be a semi-conscious state, and when he went from room to room to find the warmest spots, he staggered rather than walked.  The past couple of days he just teetered.  It was a hard decision to take him to Dr. Fine for the last time, but I knew he would never recover, and his quality of life was so diminished.  I finally convinced the husband that this was the appropriate route, and made the appointment to take him this afternoon at 4:45 p.m.  I stayed with him while he received the injection, and Doug passed away quietly and peacefully in just a minute or so.  I brought him home, and the husband just buried him outside under a tree ~ even in the hard winter ground.

 Now it hits me just how much a part of our family was Doug.  He will be terribly missed, but at least I know he’s no longer in pain and discomfort waiting for the end to come.  “Just a cat”?  I think not, but so much more.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Red, White or Red & White ~

 I’ve always had a “thing” for horses, adoring them and wanting to have my own since I was old enough to know what they were.  In my teens, I once saw the performance of the world famous Lippizaner stallions on t.v. and was captured!  Many years later, when my husband’s sweet aunt passed away, we were fortunate enough to receive a gorgeous statue of a Lippizaner stallion and a book that tells the “tail” about them.  I’m not sure of the origins of this statue, but I adore it.

White Lippizaner stallion statue.

White Lippizaner stallion statue.


My husband bought me red roses for Valentine’s Day, and I made him Valentine’s heart cookies (red & white).

Red roses

Red roses


Valentine Heart Cookies

Valentine Heart Cookies


Last, but not least, is a splash of red and white in this photo originally taken last weekend and posted in my “Waterfall Wanderlust” post.  I just thought it fit the subject matter well enough to repost.

Skaneateles Creek in Skaneateles Falls, NY

Skaneateles Creek in Skaneateles Falls, NY


Thanks for another great challenge, Cee!  Until next time, TTFN!      Tamara Eckstadt