Ode to Bonnie, and Labrador Love


On January 3rd 2011 I had to put my dog Bonnie to sleep. She had been my companion for almost 14 years, from the time she was 5 months old. Considering a friend of mine gave her to me only a couple of months after I arrived in this country in 1998, she was a constant presence for most of what I know to be my “adult” life. It happen very suddenly, she went from normal to slowing down in about a week. The irony is that I had a doctor’s appointment for her that same fateful day. I thought she was developing arthritis, and wanted to see if the vet could prescribe something to ease her pain. When I got home from work with my then 3 year old son, and she could barely breathe, I know something was terribly, terribly wrong.

I had vowed to myself not to get another animal ever. Besides the pain and the life changes after her death I have to consider the reality of both my husband and I working full time, having a young child, and a pretty crazy routine. For a very long time I could “hear” the sound of nails in the hardwood floor, and I would jump out of my bed in a very specific way so not to step on her. After almost 14 years I realized I was as conditioned to her as she had been to me. I’m not the kind of person that compares dog companionship with human companionship. Dogs (thanks be to God for that one) are NOT humans. That’s to me is the beauty of a relationship with a canine friend. Bonnie was not my “child”, but she stuck with me through the worst times and the best ones in the 14 years I had been in this country. There is no way to deny the connection of affection, and the bond between a human and a dog, and she knew when I was in distress and never left my side. If that’s not friendship, I don’t know what is.

After one year I now find myself dog sitting for a friend.


So gorgeous!

Out of the blue. I overheard him in need of finding her a place to stay because he was leaving in a couple of days, and because my son talks about Bonnie a lot I thought it would be good for him to have a dog around. I realized how much my son misses, and remembers, Bonnie. Small details, like the color of her favorite bone, which for the life of me I cannot understand how could he remember. The impact Bree (the name of the gentle Yellow Lab girl we’re hosting) has had in Kaiden, and in me, has left me wondering if I’ll be able to keep my vow… My son has shown a wonderful ability to handle a relatively large dog, and is completely in love with her. As you can see from the pictures, it’s not very hard to fall in love with her. Add to her great looks one of the best personalities I’ve ever seen in a dog and voila, I find myself looking at Lab Rescue websites… Must pray about this one!

Really good friends!

Can’t wait for Christmas…

I'm feeling so inspired!



Earthquakes? Hurricanes? Do I really live in New England?

It was indeed a surreal experience. For a Californian this was probably something not even worth mentioning, but when you live in the east coast, specifically in New England which does not get its share of natural disasters other parts of the country get (blessed be the Lord for that), what we all experienced in the begining of the week is (hopefully) a one in a lifetime experience. I first noticed my chair shaking, which led me to believe a co-worker was messing with me, until I looked over my computer screen and could see the columuns swaying back back and fro…

Then today we faced Irene… My husband and I spent many hours on Friday cutting down the branches from the neighbor’s crabapple tree that have been resting on our power lines since we moved to this house. The city does not take responsibility, and the electric company never showed up. Very carefully we trimmed away a good chunck of tree, and was able to gather 3 buckets full of crabapple to make jelly! This will be my next post, a fun study on crabapple jely making.

I hope that all of you in the path of Irene are safe and sound. My heart was aching for the little boy killed when a tree struck his house. I had just read the news when I hear a crashing sound in my backyard. One of the neighbor’s giant pine tree came crashing into my yard. It took the center of my beautiful tree, my 2 columnar apples I blogged about a while ago, my 2 crabapple trees, and our bird bath… I’m not sure how much of the cherry trees where affected yet. Still I was very grateful that only the trees were hit and not our home. I’ll miss the beauty of my big tree, now in the shape of a “V”, but all of my family is fine, thanks be to God.

It was a scary sound...

Four of my fruit trees are under the branches

My tree used to be so gorgeous...

And a Year Went by…


Oh my I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since my last post… 4 complete seasons, from summer to summer! So much has happened, good and bad… I had two major things going on in my life, the purchase of our home, and my mother-in-law being diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer.

 The house kept me extremely occupied in the summer months. We have about 0.4 of an acre of land, and I had zero experience taking care of landscape. I’m the person who – to my great shame I admit – has been known to kill a cactus, and a pothos plant.  I had overgrown everything, including 3 unruly burning bushes that were taking over the front of the house. I spent months cutting, tearing, pulling and digging things in all the spare time I could find. I had a close encounter with poison ivy and poison sumac. I can say that those two plants became the sort of stuff that appear in my nightmares. I started with funny burning/crawling sensations that would wake me up in the middle of the night. I thought for a while we had, maybe during the move, acquired bed bugs. Or could it be a extremely bad flea infestation? It took about a week for the rashes to appear, and almost 6 weeks of agony for them to disappear. I swear that to this day I can still feel the itch in the areas affected the most.

 But there was also a lot of joy learning about gardening, different plants and their care, designing what I want the backyard to be, etc. I fell in love with gardening, and devoured all the information I could find in books, internet or in conversation with friends. I set my heart into starting an orchard, using the apparently very popular method of “high density planting”, part of the “backyard orchard culture”. So my husband and I covered a huge portion of our yard with black tarp in order to solarize the area I had in mind. Over the years I also plan on transforming my surroundings into a complete 100% edible landscape. It surprised me to learn about the amount of ornamental plants that are not only native, but that also produce fruit.  Last year we were able to add blueberries, raspberries, chokeberries, Rosa rugosa (for rose hips), and a variety of herbs. This year so far I’ve planted 3 sour cherries, 2 paw-paws, 2 types of crab apples (which I learned how to make a wonderful jelly from my neighbors tree) and 2 columnar apples (fantastic little trees). Oh my, so much to tell about them! I really hope to devote some of my postings to the progress of this experiment. 

My mother-in-law… all I can comfortably say about all of this is that by the grace of God she is doing great, and that she is one of the strongest, most gracious women I’ve ever met. It was a horrible, indescribable feeling of terror that went through all of our minds thinking about the possibility of not having her around. I was hurting for my husband and his sisters, for my son and niece, and for myself. God’s graceful hands has been guiding a fantastic team of doctors and nurses that have been giving her the best treatment available, and God’s love gave her the strength to face this situation mostly undisturbed by speculations of outcomes. One day at a time we came to the point now where things are looking better than ever, and there are no words I can find to write that could express my gratitude to my Lord. 

In the midst of all our turmoil one thing my MIL and I loved to do was go thrift shopping. In the process I rekindled a passion I had as a little girl for beautiful china. There is a long story behind this, which I’ll maybe mention later, but the outcome is my very own Etsy store called Tea Times Creations. This is a sneak peak of what I’ve been doing:


One of my babies!


WholeLottaSinger Podcast Episode 3

[blip.tv ?posts_id=3583748&dest=51712]

I’m finally back! In this episode we have a very special quilt and Story Time, the notion of “legacy”, and part 2 of the interview with Dr. Kimberly Wulfert. Complete show notes at https://wholelottasinger.wordpress.com/

Many thanks to Brenda Dayne from Cast On, to Kim Burke and  Seven Sunless Days,  Dr. Kimberly Wulfert, Delaine Gately, and Mattie’s family.

Soundtrack by Ricardo Botticelli, Silencio, Seven Sunless Days.

Just beautiful!

Quick update

I just wanted to stop by to thank everyone for their kind well wishes and prayers. It means a lot to me. I am getting better, slower than I wished, but then again when I think about all that my body went through I know I need to be patient. I am back at work on reduced hours. I am constantly tired, and it takes a lot for me to get up to go to work every day. By the time I get home all I want to do is lay down. God bless my mom for allowing me to do just that, since she’s the one taking care of my son. I don’t even have the energy to do anything on the train, I just sleep both ways. Unfortunately my commute time is the opportunity I have to do the editing work for the podcast. I have a lot of it done, but after everything that’s been happening I want to change a few things. I don’t have the energy to carry my laptop with me, or even to record more material. I knew this first week back at work would be tough, but I’m grateful that the worst is over. Please continue to bear with me, I just can’t wait to be myself again and to pick up the mic. Thank you for your support and understanding!

Hard times and podcast prep

Just today I noticed that one of my favorite Administrative Assistants was missing… which nowadays means she has been laid off. My firm, like all business in this country, has been hit by the financial crisis, although we have been blessed so far comparing to what happened to other architectural firms. I’ve heard horror stories of firms going from almost 200 people down to 50. We’ve had two rounds of lay-offs so far. The first one hit 12 people, and the second one 22.

This girl was a beginner knitter, and she would often stop by to ask tips. I taught her how to block, and was going to show her my Laminaria today when I realized I have not seen her at the front desk in a while. My office is divided into studios, mine being on the third floor and she worked on the fourth. But AA’s take turn working at the front desk covering for the main receptionist, so many times during the week when I was leaving to go home we would chat about our current projects.

I feel like people are disappearing from this place like I’m on an X-Files episode… I had been optimistic until the second round of lay-offs. Now I’m concerned and a bit scared. Times are definitely hard.

 There’s nothing like walking on someone else’s shoes. Now that I trying to put together my own blog and podcast I can see first-hand the incredible amount of work that goes into it. It really makes me appreciate my favorite ones even more. It all looks so naturally put together, the pages flow, and all the information I need seems to magically appear exactly where I thought it would be… Hard, hard, hard work! I hope I can live up to them. Right now I am completely overwhelmed with posting pictures, learning about RSS feed, and other feeds, and Delicious, Bliptv, WordPress. 

I did manage to record the promo, and most of the main segment of episode 1. I lost count how many times I had to stop and do it again. It is amazing how my ideas seem so clear and connected, but the minute I hit the record button I turn into a babbling creature with nothing intelligent to say… I hope it gets better, because if my recording sessions will be like the ones on Saturday it will take me 6 months to put an episode together!

Despite all of the “work” the weekend was awesome, the weather perfect, and this is the image I’ll have on my mind this week (after blueberry picking all Sunday morning):

The Belkin Lookout Farm, Natick, MA

The Belkin Lookout Farm, Natick, MA