Category Archives: Dogs

Changes

2016 has started out as a year of change – gradual or sudden, they keep bursting upon us.  In January we had our Sophie girl with us and now in February, we do not.  In January we had David Bowie with us and in February we do not.  The same transition has happened to my grandmother with the loss of her second husband a week later.  In February we marked the twelfth year since my father’s untimely passing.  It’s a disappearing act, one day they are here and the next day they simply are not.  Their memories and mementos lingers and you expect to see them around every corner you turn.

Our pets are our daily companions and they give back an unselfish love every moment you spend with them.  With Sophie the dog’s passing, we feel it acutely and forcefully.  We were her earthly guardians and ultimately also the acting agents in her leaving this earth.  We willfully summoned the vet to our house and paid for her release with the doses of sedatives and drugs that stopped her lungs and heart.  In our defense, we were doing this to save her from an unnecessary suffering – a silent cancer had invaded her liver and spleen and rotted out her insides long before she showed any outward sign, brave girl.  In some ways, I think we are more humane to our pets than we choose to be towards ourselves when it comes to this end of life juncture.

I think that Sophie had a good life, for a dog.  We were newlyweds, living in a 400 sq. ft. second floor apartment with one dog already who was just outgrowing puppyhood – it made perfect sense to get a second.  (Sarcasm).  But I just knew we needed another to make our little family unit complete.  So I searched online and we visited one sweet pup at the APA that wasn’t “the one”.  And then I saw Sophie’s rescue story on Stay Rescue’s site and saw a resemblance to Shenanigan and such sweet, loving eyes that I knew that she was ours.  We put in an application and her foster parents brought her out for a visit.  She gravitated towards JT, giving him big eyes, seeming to know he was the one she had to win over.  I still remember her in the backseat of her foster parents’ green sedan, ears high, looking out the window at us as they drove off after the visit.  We talked it over and decided to try it out and her foster parents seemed to know that despite the second floor apartment and being young and naive that we would love her forever and so it was a match.

It wasn’t without its difficulties – Sophie came to join our family in our snug little apartment next to the Botanical Gardens and we learned that her past abuse made her nervous to be on a leash and especially be on a leash near other dogs.  But we didn’t have a yard for her to run in and so we’d wander around our little South City neighborhood trying to get her to do her business, only to come back in the house and find that she had snuck off to pee in a corner.  We tried joining a dog park to see if the off-leash experience would be better but she made such terrible noises when the other dogs played that it sounded like she was alternately murdering other dogs or being murdered herself.  So we did what rational people would do and bought a house before the first year’s lease had even expired on our apartment.  As Sophie learned to trust us and with a yard for early morning potty runs, she grew to be fine on a leash and we were able to take her many places.  Other things would pop up, like a brief period of chewing plastic things (the remote, the camera, my phone), an intrinsic fear of the “windman” and an unhealthy high alert stress reaction to small children.  We learned to take it in stride, listen to what she was trying to tell us and be sure to keep her out of stressful situations.  She’d already been through enough.

In exchange for a roof over her head and a back yard to pee in, Sophie was so sweet and loving.  She preferred to be around people and never fully learned to be a dog – she didn’t play with toys at all.  She loved bones though – we found one Nylabone-type thing with the end all the way chewed down and we worried she was sharpening a shiv for an escape act.   Although I doubt she would have ever tried to escape at all.  I fell down once while walking the two dogs after tripping over an uneven joint in the sidewalk and Shenanigan ran off to sniff everywhere he could, unconcerned with anything except his sudden freedom while Miss Sophie came to check on me and make sure I was okay.  That was her way.  The two dogs had a deal – Shenanigan guarded the house and Sophie guarded her people.  She entertained us a lot – when she got excited about going for a walk or something she would “moo” and we always thought someday we could teach her to say “I love you”.  Every morning after she ate her breakfast she would “wipe her face” by rolling around hilariously on her back, her big white belly in the air and her little feet kicking everywhere.

Phoenix seemed to agree with our dogs.  My mom and I drove them down here in a two day exhaustion-fueled driving tour (JT was already here for work) and they seemed content to sit in their dog beds in the back seat and watch the midwest slowly change to the southwest outside the tinted windows.  The weather here, so warm and dry, seemed better for their joints and Sophie especially seemed less arthritic and more relaxed.  Her face had turned from tan to all white so gradually that we didn’t fully comprehend what that meant until it was upon us.  We worried that they would miss the grass in this land of rocks and dirt and made sure to walk them to the nearby park or green space for a chance to roll around in the green stuff.

Her last day came when I was in St. Louis on a very short and stressful work trip.  I didn’t want to be away from home but I didn’t have any other option.  We landed and I got back in contact with JT.  He let me know I needed to get home.  I think she was waiting for me.  She wagged her tail but was too weak to get up.  I laid down on the floor besides her and she stretched out along my body.  I told her how much I loved her with my eyes and she huffed an acknowledgment, breathing my breath with her breath.  This and many more wordless communications of affection and love I will hold with me always.

Writing and re-writing all these past sweet and stressful and silly times with my old girl has tears streaming and maybe this eulogy of sorts is too long for a dog.  It seemed like it needed to be written.

All I know is we miss her so much.  And I’ve learned enough about grief to know that that’s okay.

 

PS – After all of these transitions, I read Paul Kalanithi’s “When Breath Becomes Air”.  It was partly because I’ve been reading Joanna Goddard’s blog A Cup of Jo for some time now and I was heartbroken to hear of the family connection (her twin sister was married to Paul) but also because I think we sometimes avoid the subject of death and dying and yet it’s so omnipresent.  In the space of time since I started this blog post and publishing it, one of my sisters has also lost a significant person in her life and my heart goes out to her.  I’m glad February is the shortest month.

Master Bedroom Tour

Before we moved in, we painted the bulk of the first floor Benjamin Moore “White Dove”.  We stopped the paint at the corner at the bottom of the stairs before it turns and goes up into the two volume space.  So for a while, downstairs was gorgeous gleaming white and the upstairs was still that dingy, fleshy beige that drives me crazy.

Part of living in the desert means that all of the creepy crawlies that live outdoors would much rather live in your home.  And the creepy crawlies out here are so much more terrifying than in the Midwest I have found.  The long segue I am trying to make here is that we ended up moving into the guest bedroom for a time after we discovered a few scorpions living in our master bedroom.  There was one in JT’s shoe which was stored in one of the under-bed drawers and another hanging out on the inside of the shower curtain one morning.  Not cool.  While we were waiting for the pest people to come back, we decided to go ahead and get the master bedroom painted.  So here it is …

Bedroom 3

We have nice high ceilings in this room and so we decided to accent the end wall with Sherwin Williams “Porpoise” which was a color we had in our STL house as well.  I guess I just really love that color – it’s a pretty perfect warm dark grey.  The canvas artwork has moved with us too and lived in a few different rooms before ending up here.

Bedroom 2

I have a love/hate relationship with the mirrored closet doors.  They’re so functional yet so …. tacky.  They do help bounce the light around the room.  You can kind of see in the reflection that we have the Koehler white vinyl rocker/lounger in the corner for a little sitting/clothes piling area.  JT got that chair from Goodwill during college and I think we may have it forever.  I love it – there’s nothing tacky about it!   You can kind of see beyond that the master bedroom opens into the sink area of the master bath and then around the corner and behind closed doors is the water closet and a large tub/shower.

Bedroom Outtake

Here’s an outtake from my little photo shoot – Shenanigan was done with being photographed and wanted O-U-T of the bedroom.  Tough luck little dude.  The blue duvet cover and pillow shams came from West Elm about two years ago.  Next steps for this room is a proper headboard – we still haven’t had one of those in almost 11 years of marriage!  It would also be nice to upgrade our bedside tables and lamps as well at some point.

Shenana Snores

Above is a little scene from this A.M. – Boo got scared of something in the night and jumped up on the bed.  The dogs are getting older with creakier joints so they actually don’t get up on the bed with us as much anymore, which is probably good for both the husband’s and my back.

Sophie Yells

Not to be left out, I also caught Sophie the dog mid-yawn this morning.  You can see how the carpet has some Sophie spots on it.  JT and I would love to replace the carpet for hardwood or maybe an LVT floor as Miss Sophie has left her mark a few places when she wasn’t feeling well with a UTI.  We’ve rented a steam cleaner twice but haven’t had any success getting fully rid of the telltale stains.

The best part about this house and especially the master bedroom is the view – there’s a balcony looking out over the mountain.  We picked up some cool chairs from Lowes and JT and I sit out there some mornings, sip our coffee and soak in the scenery.

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Below is a better view out the sliding door and over the balcony.  It was a rare(r) rainy day the other day and like a true Phoenician, I took a photo of the rain.

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You can kind of see the hot tub below on the left and the hammock is hanging out down there.  JT has been itching to find some pavers and fill in the large “sand box” we inherited and create a nice outdoor living room.

So that’s the master bedroom in the new house, a little sanctuary in the sky.  There’s still work to be done in there (we need a non-ugly fan STAT!) and I didn’t show more photos in the bathroom part of the suite on purpose – it’s a work in progress but we’re loving it.

Hopefully this week we’re going to finish up a little laundry room renovation and I also have some more of a room-by-room tour of the new house.  The hot weather has finally left Phoenix and I’m starting to get my home project mojo back.  Have a great week!  Cheers – CT

Hanging It Updates

Hey everyone – it’s been awhile so I thought I would just plunge in with some updates, highlights and clips of what life has been like around the Living Analog household lately:

After another trip around the blazing hot sun (it was 104 degrees here yesterday on the first day of October!)  JT rewarded me with something I have had my eye on for a while now …. an Eames Hang It All!

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Husband is actually very smart and lets me self-select most gifts as I am ridiculously opinionated on all things that live in our house.  He did also surprise me with flowers at work this year, bonus points husband.  Back to the Hang It All – is it a little overpriced for a coat hook? Sure.  Do I love it and want to keep it forever?  Yes please.

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It’s right inside the front door so I can now just drop my purse and bag right when I get home from work.  It keeps everything off the floor (e.g. dog hair free) and did I mention that I love it?  Moving on …
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Some more little updates from our world:

– Also for my birthday (did I mention I’m pretty spoiled?)  JT and I took a weekend road trip to southeast Arizona.  We visited Tombstone for a few hours (that’s about all the touristy time we could handle) and stayed the night in Bisbee, which I really loved and reminded me of the American West version of Portwenn in Doc Martin but far and away the highlight of the trip was the winery region around Sonoita.  It was so beautiful and there was some good wine.  We are going back and hopefully soon!

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The high desert is amazing.  I took this picture from a moving car while driving east from Sonoita towards our hotel in Sierra Vista.  Amazing views for miles and miles.  And – five years late I joined Instagram.  I posted the above picture up and was proud to add the hashtag #nofilter!  My Instagram handle is ct.livinganalog.  I’m hoping to use Instagram to help me get my photos out of my phone more and into an actual printed form.  If anyone has some good recommendations for Instagram prints, I’m all ears.

– Sophie (the dog) is on antibiotics after getting her first UTI.  She started peeing inside the house once a day and we figured it was just a part of the old age thing so we got her a doggie diaper (that didn’t stay on … I also tried the toddler diapers from Target with a hole cut out for the tail but that was even worse …).  The drugs seem to have kicked in and we are back to a pee-free house.  However, we are now also a rug free house because she has done a LOT  of damage.  The carpet on the second level was pretty well toast when we moved in but now it’s beyond gone.  Thanks Sophie …

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(She’s so cute though  And we’re glad she’s feeling better.)

– JT made me a log table!  We had a tree crew come and cut down a dead and mostly knocked over tree as well as the tree at the back most corner of the yard.  Couple that with our backyard neighbor getting their tree (excessively) trimmed due to aggressive hybridized “killer” bees, and things got kind of bare in our backyard for a while.  The quail all quit us for a little bit but we got a huge bird feeding block from the hardware store and now they’re starting to come back.  JT will have to do a proper post about the log table but it’s been a great addition for the living room – perfect for holding a beverage and just looking cool.

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– There have been other, more terrifying bugs than the hybridized bees around … I found this THING in the garage the other day, words don’t even do it justice.  It appeared to be part large black spider and part scorpion or crab.  It was waiting for me at the door from the laundry room to the garage (it was inside the garage though, not actually in the house).  I was too terrified to get a picture of it while alive and the dead picture doesn’t even show what it could be but here goes ….

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The body part of the creature was about the size of a quarter and then the legs when out from there …. I hope I never meet that bug’s mother.  I think it was an alien.

– We’ve been taking lots of little trips and one big trip (to Portland!).  We’ve been traveling around Arizona and camping and staying as many places as our three day weekends allow – Payson and Lake Pleasant and Tucson, Jerome, Prescott and Apache Junction.  We’ve driven to Las Vegas from here once (it’s about 5 hours and you go through about 5 different types of environments – even a Joshua Tree forest).  Driving in Arizona is fascinating and terrifying because once you get out of the valley, the scenery is breathtaking but the roads immediately become steep, winding and full of tractor trailers going too fast.

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Above is a snap from one of our jaunts – the Elvis Chapel at the Superstition Mountain Museum.  Yes, Elvis (or a non-lifelike replica statue) was inside. Yes, my sunglasses are too big for my face – look at all that sunshine!  A girl has to take cover where she can get it in this state.  Portland (Oregon) was so amazing and such a great respite from the heat we’ve been plodding through.  I’ll do a better Portland recap in my next post.  I loved it there and I could easily see doing a 6 month split with Phoenix – live in Portland for the 6 months of summer and Phoenix for the 6 months of winter.  Now I just need to find a job that will let me telecommute like that …..

I hope all is well with my interwebs friends!  I’ll be around more and I hope to catch up with everyone.

Cheers – CT

Hot Crowd

Has anyone else noticed how Jimmy Fallon always comments that there is a “hot crowd” now that he’s on the Tonight Show?  And so the crowd cheers louder because he may be saying that they’re physically attractive but really he may be commenting on their general liveliness?  Well (to transition this thing over) we’re always a hot crowd here in Phoenix now that the days are mostly in the 100 to 100 degree range.  It’s like a long-standing joke on us (until September when we then laugh at the rest of the country).

We got up early a few weekends back to see if hiking was still feasible in this heat.  The Valley had a layer of smog when we were only 20 minutes in and not very high up the mountain.

THE VALLEY

The sun started baking us and we called it a little early to head back home, drink all the water we could find and generally lay about.

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The heat means I open the doors to send the dogs out and in a few short minutes I see this out the back door . . .

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So we let them back in and then they generally lay about the place.  Like so (Sophie, who finally learned how to use pillows):

LAZY SOPHIE

And so:

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And so (a princess and the pea Shenanigan when I piled up the dog beds so our robot vacuum could be unleashed in the bedroom):

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One benefit of the heat is a 50% discount offered to Arizona residents for visits to Taliesin West.  JT and I thought the first tour on Saturday morning (9am) might be nice and empty but it was packed instead.  So it was a little difficult to take pictures due to the throng of fellow architecture enthusiasts we were surrounded by.

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The tour was interesting, the sun was hot and I enjoyed nosing around.  As this was Wright’s winter home, he left a lot of the structures open with only canvas as a covering for a few years until his wife convinced him to go with glass.

I found a handsome man on the tour …

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A sculpture I liked . . .

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Oh, you wanted me to turn around? (Picture fail)

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A picture of a picture (heading into the dinner theatre area – what don’t you have your architecture students/servants put on a dinner theatre for you on your winter vacation?)

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(Sidenote: I didn’t realize my hair was getting so long . . .)

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The view towards McDowell Mountain.  You can definitely see where Wright got his inspiration!  Time to get back inside and away from the sun’s burning rays!  Cheers – CT

 

 

The most adorable picture I have taken to date!

Off the back porch is a little back deck.  It’s not big enough to be anything more than a way to get oneself from the back porch to the back yard but nonetheless, there it is.  This little back deck, poorly constructed and painted John Deere green, was beginning to literally crumble away – it wasn’t safe anymore at all – not for us people or the sturdy little dogs we love.

Here’s a before shot (but missing the side rails because they came off with a push of a finger and we got excited and started demoing before we took pictures . . .)

BEFORE

What a glorious mess.  Nothing meets the residential code (stairs are 28″ wide, not 36″ and the baluster spacing is way to big), nothing is super structural . . . a mess.  As an added bonus there is a crumbling set of concrete stairs hidden underneath the platform.  (Wait a minute – that’s why the back deck exists!!!!!  It’s a platform to cover up the old concrete stairs!  Why did I never think of this before! – Okay back to the post. . . )

Last weekend, after getting back from our Minnesota trip, JT and I have been laboring in the sweaty, sticky soup that is St. Louis weather to create a safe, code-compliant, non-green back deck.  We’re not all the way done but we do have a safe platform and wide steps installed — and we had the dogs take a maiden voyage…

DURING

And that’s the story of how I ended up with the most adorable picture I have ever taken.  Shenanigan (the guy in front) is usually too busy being a stand-offish jackass to really let his true essence be captured on film – but I caught him running down the new stairs with his little piggie ears sticking straight up (they don’t normally do that) and it seems like you can see the real Shenanigan here.  Miss Sophie (our other tan dog) is in the background being sweet and demure like she can be and Cameron, our Stray Rescue foster dog is always tagging along for the fun.

We still have posts with neat copper post caps and lots of railings to install but we are so happy with the way our little back deck is turning out so far.  And it looks like the dogs approve.  Cheers – CT

News of (a very small corner of) the world (small updates)

Hi Everyone.  All 5 of you.  So much love for reading my little corner of the world.  I thought I would take this Feisty Friday (what we call it at work!) and update you all on the goings-on at Living Analog.

First things first.  My husband is a lot of amazing things and one of them is amazingly creative.  He just finished up recording a new song (that he wrote).  It boggles my mind that this person I live with CAN WRITE A WHOLE SONG.  And sing it, and play all the instruments that goes into it.  He’s not a one man army, he gets a lot of input from his band mates.  So if you have any inclination and because I don’t have the capacity right now to figure out how to upload this thing, check out his band blog at www.grandbeautymusic.com.  The song is called “You Go Blind”.

I mean, how can you not love a guy who can write music and who hangs out with his dog, making sure no marauding kitty-cats come and invade their territory?

JT AND MONKEY

Next up: Cameron.  Cam the Man, foster dog extraordinaire is still hanging out at Living Analog.  We’ve taken him to be famous on TV (featured on KSDK’s Sammy’s Stars) and countless adoption events.  Last week my sister and I took him to see Roman Holiday on Art Hill.  He was a perfect gentleman and charmed all the ladies in line for LuLu’s Food Truck and then settled in and watched the movie as quiet as a little mouse.  He’s come out of his shell so much in the few months he’s been back in our house and I really, really, really want him to find a forever home soon so they can enjoy this goofy love of a dog.  Unfortunately most people are really charmed by him and then put off by his age.  Any suggestions you guys have on this matter would be greatly appreciated.  I’m kind of at a loss as to what to do — so this weekend we’ll be at the Sunday adoption event at Local Harvest in Kirkwood if anyone wants to meet the Silver Fox.

CAMERON AT ART HILL

And last but not least — a new project!  There is a room at the back of our house, directly off the kitchen that I have never, ever showed on our floor plan.  Kind of like it doesn’t exist.  But it does.  And it’s crazy town in there.  So when Apartment Therapy started posting about the August Style Cure, I thought it might be a good kick in the rear to sign up and get our back porch back on track once and for all.

It’s bad.

BACK PORCH

Which means it can only get better from here!

The first assignment for the Style Cure was a sort-of style diagnostic.  JT and I both took one.  It was kind of hard!  It’s not everyday you sit down and pin point exactly what it is you like and why you like it.

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JT decided my style is “British and fancy”.  I hit back with his style being “Nerdy and fancy”.  The main take-away is that at the end of the day we both prefer quality over quantity and want a relaxing, inviting space. So that’s what we’ll be working on for the next month.  Anyone else doing the Style Cure?  Have a great weekend regardless!  Cheers – CT

Changing it up. Again. And again.

I don’t know how many more times I can post about changes in the living room before you guys gather your pitchforks and torches and chase me from the interwebs but here goes nothing.

We’ve been living with a chair party since the couch left.

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(Mostly all of) the chairs I’ve hoarded came out to play.  It was making me feel old though because JT would end up in the “man chair” (the Baumritter lounger with the “Cover Your Lover” blanket on it currently) and I would end up on the Kroehler white vinyl swivel chair, side-by-side like we had suddenly turned into our grandparents in “their chairs”.  I mean everyone’s grandparents did that right — there was a “his” and “hers” chair and don’t you dare sit in it if Grandma or Grandpa were around.  Our original plan was to clear out the old tan sofa to make room for the Danish Daybeds but . . . . after getting some prices to have the foam redone and cushion covers made  it was a jaw-dropping, I-better-learn-how-to-sew-right-now kind of price.  (In reality, the quotes weren’t bad, they’re just out of our budget right now.)

So, what’s in our budget that would allow me to occaisonally sit next to my husband? This little gem from Craigslist.

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I had scouted the “list” and found a few options that could work for us, including a Karlstad (Ikea) sofa that looked almost brand new but this guy just tugged at my retro/vintage heartstrings.

I mean, look at it!

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It turned out to be in a third floor apartment (no elevator) near Wash U.  The scale was such that JT and I could easily heft it down the stairs and it fit into the Saturn with the back door all the way closed.  So it’s not nearly as big/long as our outgoing sofa but it will nicely fill a void until I get some courage and tackle those daybeds.  Now JT and I can morph back into 32 (and 33 – happy early birthday honey!) year-olds rather than the old people we had become.

Here it is at home and cleaned up a little (good old Howard’s Feed and Wax on the legs and some vinyl cleaner on the seat).

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There’s a few tears and age spots here and there but overall I really like it.  It’s a little less white than the ad pictures showed — it is more of a subtle yellow with avocado undertones and almost matches our Eames rocker perfectly.  I’ll be back with another (!) post on how we rearranged the living room a few times to get “Newbie” (as I have named the sofa) to fit into our life and home.

Here are some outtakes of what happens when I try to take furniture photos.  Dogs.  Everywhere.  Cameron is apparently not camera-shy at all, but very interested in being front and center in all photos.  That dog is funny weird (in a good way).

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