Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Christmas Dog...Revisited

Thought I would repost this holiday blog from 2010 for all my fellow dog loving friends. Don't forget all the abandoned dogs (and cats) that need a home for Christmas.

Two days before Christmas of last year I received a call from my friend, fellow realtor and neighbor, Kelly, asking for my help. Kelly had sold one of her listings and the sellers had moved away. Earlier that day, she had been at the now vacant house overseeing some repair work that the buyers required before closing, only to discover that the sellers had moved away and abandoned their dog. After trying, without success, to convince one of the workers to take the dog home, she loaded up the orphan and took him home with her. Now Kelly and her husband already had 2 dogs and 2 cats at home, so I chided her about bringing in another dog, but she is way too tenderhearted when it comes to rescuing animals (Her husband, a pilot, even volunteers to fly rescue dogs across the country to their new homes!). The problem was, Kelly and her husband were driving up to Oklahoma on Christmas Eve to spend Christmas with family, and although they were taking their two dogs, Chewy and Rufus (cute, cute, cute Brussels Griffons, you know the "As Good As It Gets" dog that stole Jack Nicholson's heart) with them, there was no way they could risk taking a strange dog as well. She asked if I would check on the dog and feed him for the 3 days they would be gone. I said sure and went over to her house to meet the dog before they left town.

Upon arriving at Kelly's house I was greeted by a friendly, black and white, mix breed of a "yard dog" if there ever was one! He was obviously a good dog, but pretty skinny and so dirty his white fur was a dull gray color, and he was a little all over the place, the way dogs in a new enviornment are. Not knowing what his original name was, they had decided to call him Dexter, because, well, he looked like a Dexter. Kelly assured me he would be fine staying in the backyard until they returned and showed me where she kept the dog food. The next day, Christmas Eve, Kelly and her husband, Garrad, took off for Oklahoma. I wasn't due to check in on Mr. Dexter until the next morning.

In the middle of the night, I was awakened by the noise of howling wind and rain outside. A big old cold front had blown into San Antonio and temperatures had dropped down into the 30's. I couldn't sleep another wink the rest of the night, worried about poor Dexter stuck out in the cold and wet. Even though I knew Kelly had prepared a dog house for him to sleep in, I couldn't wait for the sun to come up so I could rush right over there. When I got to the house, I ran to the back door calling and calling for Dexter. I didn't see him anywhere and the dog house, which I was glad to see was nice and dry inside, was empty. Oh crap! I just knew that storm had spooked poor Dexter to jump the fence and I had lost him! Then, thank God, he suddenly came running around the corner of the house...tail wagging and clearly none the worse for wear. I didn't care how dirty or flea covered that dog was, I hugged and kissed him like a long lost brother! Well, suffice it to say, Dexter and I made it through Christmas. When Kelly and Garrad came home they made Dexter a permanent member of the family.

Well, just a few days ago, Kelly called to ask if I could watch the dogs and the cat for a few days while she and Garrad went down to Mexico on a family holiday trip. I was happy to help and I even drove them to the airport yesterday morning. Yesterday afternoon, around 4:30, I jumped in the car and scooted over to their house to feed the animals and spend a little time with them. When I walked in the door, Chewy and Rufus, barked and barked then, looking past me to the door, seemed a little let down that Kelly and Garrad were not right behind me. Frankie, the cat, wandered into the room, also a little let down that it was just me. Then Dexter came bounding in, tail wagging and pushing his head up under my hand as if to say "Why Hello my old friend". I couldn't help think about the Dexter of just one year ago...this dog's coat was clean and soft, fresh from the groomer, he was practically shiny and, well, a bit fat! In fact, I think we both had put on a few pounds since last year. When I had sufficiently scratched him behind the ears he turned and streaked back through the dog door (take a note Dixie, if you're reading this) to run circles in HIS backyard. I hung out for about an hour and half, tossing toys to the Brussels and petting the cat, with Dexter running in and out to check on me. Once everyone settled down, I washed my dish (thanks for the great tamales, Kelly), turned out the lights I had turned on, and counted furry heads to make sure everyone was accounted for. Chewy and Rufus were snuggled together on one end of the sofa, the cat was perched on the back of the sofa at the other end, but I didn't see Dexter. I walked back to the master bedroom and there I found him, curled up asleep, smack in the middle of Kelly's king-size bed, snoring the way only fat, happy dogs can. I tell you it was a picture that could knock the Bah right out of your Humbug. I didn't move past the door, I just whispered, "Good night Christmas Dog", and mosied on home.


Happy Holidays, Ya'll!

Post Script... Dexter is still "living the life" with Kelly and Garrad.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

My New Obsession

What is it??  Estate Sales!  Oh, not for shopping...for selling.  My friend, Anna Meriwether, who is now my new housemate, is in the estate sale business.  A few months ago Anna asked if I could help with one of her sales.  Well, because I was curious and, frankly, needed the extra pocket money, I decided to set aside my allergy to clutter (not to mention dust) and pitch in.

Dear Hearts, I was instantly hooked!  First of all, I learned the term "hoarder" is nothing new.  It is astounding how much STUFF we humans acquire and hang onto in our homes.  In the beginning of preparing a sale it seems overwhelming the amount of stuff you need to pull out of closets, cabinets and garages in order to display and price it.  But as you go, a story begins to unfold and it's like reading a mystery novel or putting together a puzzle...the lives of the inhabitants reveals themselves with each room's contents until you get the whole picture.

Not to mention folks, we are in South Louisiana.  The heart of Acadiana, Cajun country.  There is a very unique history and culture in this area, so when you get into these old family estates there is no telling what you will unearth.

Now each time Anna's cell phone buzzes, I get all excited hoping it's a new client and a new adventure.  So I have decided to take ya'll along with me as I indulge in this obsession.  Anna has several upcoming sales that I have already "sneek peeked" and you won't believe what we found!  If you are in the Lafayette area, go to for dates and information on sales.

Hope you will enjoy this journey as much as me...more to come,


Clutter Diva

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I Just Read...

I recently joined, well helped start really, a book club.  I love reading and had really gotten away from reading for pleasure in recent years, so I felt joining a book club would kick start me back into what was probably my only good habit...reading.  Well, I was right, and I just finished our club's fourth book selection, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, by Jamie Ford.  I haven't been crazy about all of the club's book selections, but I highly recommend this one.  In brief, the author tells the story of the relationship between two young friends, one Japanese-American and the other Chinese-American set in 1942 Seattle, following Pearl Harbor and the subsequent relocation of Japanese-Americans to internment camps.  I won't give away the book, but I will tell you it's a beautifully written story that will make you cry and laugh, and think.

Perhaps this story held particular interest for me because I was married to a second generation, Japanese-American and made many J-A friends while living on the Central Coast of California.  I remember hearing the stories of how their parents and grandparents suffered during the war, yet continued to love and serve this country, proud to be American citizens.  This book helped me see those times through the eyes of the children they were at that time.

Please let me know if any of you have books to suggest to my book club!




Thursday, June 28, 2012

"I'll Have What She's Having"

I was so deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Nora Ephron.  I've grown up as a woman loving and, sometimes, living her movies, her books, her articles and her interviews.  Since "When Harry Met Sally", this amazing lady has written the dialog of our lives.

“Harry Burns: You realize of course that we could never be friends.
Sally Albright: Why not?
Harry Burns: What I'm saying is - and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form - is that men and women can't be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.
Sally Albright: That's not true. I have a number of men friends and there is no sex involved.
Harry Burns: No you don't.
Sally Albright: Yes I do.
Harry Burns: No you don't.
Sally Albright: Yes I do.
Harry Burns: You only think you do.
Sally Albright: You say I'm having sex with these men without my knowledge?
Harry Burns: No, what I'm saying is they all WANT to have sex with you.
Sally Albright: They do not.
Harry Burns: Do too.
Sally Albright: They do not.
Harry Burns: Do too.
Sally Albright: How do you know?
Harry Burns: Because no man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with her.
Sally Albright: So, you're saying that a man can be friends with a woman he finds unattractive?
Harry Burns: No. You pretty much want to nail 'em too.
Sally Albright: What if THEY don't want to have sex with YOU?
Harry Burns: Doesn't matter because the sex thing is already out there so the friendship is ultimately doomed and that is the end of the story.
Sally Albright: Well, I guess we're not going to be friends then.
Harry Burns: I guess not.
Sally Albright: That's too bad. You were the only person I knew in New York.” 

“Whatever you choose, however many roads you travel, I hope that you choose not to be a lady. I hope you will find some way to break the rules and make a little trouble out there. And I also hope that you will choose to make some of that trouble on behalf of women.”
Nora Ephron

Thank you, Nora,

Clutter Diva

Monday, June 25, 2012

Wake Up And Smell The Coffee

Oh how I love a good cup of coffee in the morning.  My favorite way to make my coffee is using a french press.  Since moving to Lafayette, I have been subletting my friend's furnished home while my belongings have remained in storage back in San Antonio...including my french press.  Last night my good friend, Anna, gifted me this precious mini-french press (isn't it the cutest?) and this morning I am enjoying my cup of Community Coffee just the way I like it.

Ummmmmmm, life is good.

Here's to a great Monday,

Clutter Diva

Monday, June 18, 2012

It Takes a [Facebook] Village

 Four days ago my coworker, a single mom of a 6 year old, posted the following on Facebook, "We all remember those days of getting picked on for some reason or another, Diego is getting it for his name, so in order to prove a point to him, that the world is much bigger than 3 little kids, please like this comment if you like the name Diego :-) just some positive affirmations for my sweet son."  Within a few hours her Facebook post received 121 likes and 36 wonderful comments like this one, "Diego.... when I first heard his name....I. said to myself "wow! What an awesome name to grow up with! Nobody else will have it. I have a funny middle name...Kamil. People used to make fun of me And call me camel. I use to hate it. But now I am very proud of it! Because I know why my daddies chose that middle name. It's middle-eastern. And I feel really special to have it."   According to Diego's mom, Heather, his happiness and confidence grew with every buzz of her cell phone signalling another post or "like" coming in.  It makes me happy to know there are so many caring adults who will take the time to bolster one child's self esteem.  I'm posting this blog to my Facebook page as well, so if you would like to comment or "like" the name Diego, please do, and I will pass along your responses to this special little boy and his awesome mom. 

Have a wonderful day,

Clutter Diva

Monday, June 4, 2012

Hey, Pretty Lady!

What a great weekend!  While helping a friend with her garage sale on Saturday I looked across the tables of knick-knacks to see a very pretty young woman, who looked strangely familiar, rummaging through the treasures.  As she walked up next to me I realized who it was!  It was none other than Andrea Veron of Andrea Veron Interiors, author of the blog All The Trappings.  I have been following Andrea's blog for a couple of years.  She has been so kind as to follow my humble blog as well, and upon learning of my move to Lafayette we vowed to meet for coffee.  Well, the last year has been a wild ride for us both and that coffee never materialized...but, I knew in a town as small as Lafayette we were bound to bump into each other, and so we did.  As I expected, she was as sweet and charming as could be.  She and her darling husband, Ken, are now running the family restaurant, Cafe Vermilionville, which will officially become my new "hang".  As I said, what a great weekend!

Pretty Lady, Andrea Veron

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Hooray, Hooray For The Month Of May!

Don't ya just love the month of May?  It's like the "softest" month of the year.  Soft cool evenings, soft flowers blooming, soft green grass, soft, soft , soft.  Before the hard, hot days of summer set in, May's soft breeze ruffles your hair and makes you want to go barefoot.

Have a beautiful May day, Dear Hearts,

Clutter Diva

Monday, April 30, 2012

Spring Musings

I am missing my dad today.  Spring always makes me think of my father.  When the flowers burst into bloom and neighborhood gardens and city parks look their best I long to talk to "Daddy".  My dad was the director of Parks and Recreation for Austin, TX for many years (and Boulder, CO and Denton, TX before that).  We would take long drives around these beautiful towns in the spring and Daddy would proudly point out the parks and gardens to his family.  All we had to do is point at a flower, plant or tree and he would tell us its name and, usually, a little fun fact as well.  Yesterday, a customer walked into my gallery holding a bloom from one of the plants in the gallery garden, asking me if I knew its name.  I did not know.  As a landscape architect's daughter spending all that time touring parks you would have thought I would retain some plant knowledge, but, alas, no.  If my dad were alive I would have called him and gotten her an answer on the spot.  I made millions of those calls to my dad after I left home for college and throughout my adult life.  He was not only a great resource for flora and fauna information, he also knew everything about football, cowboys, horses, western movies, and an endless list of trivia.  I don't recall ever asking him a question and him answering, "I don't know".  I suspect he guessed at some answers, but I never let on...he was my "answer guy" and none could take his place.  But, my dad passed away some five years ago and I still don't know the name of this plant.  Dear Hearts, if one of you can identify this pretty plant for me I would be oh so grateful.

Yours truly,

Clutter Diva

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Goodwill To All!

The upside of my recent surgery and recovery is the loss of 54 unwanted pounds.  Don't ask me how sitting on my big ass for over two months made me lose, well, my big ass, but I'm not complaining.  Except when I returned to my closet to get dressed for the outside world I didn't have anything to wear!  I looked like a bag lady in most of my tops and I had only two pairs of pants that would stay up around my waist because they have elastic waistbands.

Because I'm just getting back to work my funds for a new wardrobe are meager, and, besides I don't want to buy new winter clothes with spring just around the corner.   So, Dear Hearts, off I went to the Goodwill Store to find, possibly, a pair of blue jeans that I could at least "kick around" in.  Now, I have donated tons of clothes to Goodwill over the years, but, I have to admit I had never shopped for clothes there.  Well, SIGN ME UP for the Goodwill frequent flier program!!  I spent hours trying on pants, etc and couldn't believe the amount of really nice, used items to chose from.  I bought two pairs of jeans and a pair of black, cotton slacks and spent a whopping $14.00!!!  All three items were in great shape, and of good quality (including the pair of GAP jeans, that I'm sure were over $40 retail).

I have lots of friends who frequent "resale/consignment" clothing stores for great deals on designer labels, but I recommend checking into your local Goodwill Store every so often as well.  For those of you who already know this, I apologize for preaching to the choir, but for those of you less informed (like me) I hope you'll check GW out.  Let me know what good deals you find!


Clutter Diva

Saturday, February 4, 2012

I'm Back!

Dear Hearts, I am back, and this is what I learned while convalescing:

1. Don't take your health for granted.
2. There are angels everywhere.
3. Never underestimate the healing power of a loving pet.
4. Just because some are not able to make the entire journey, be grateful for the distance they were willing to go.
5. You may not end up where you thought you would be.  But, you will end up where you were meant to be.

OK, enough of that.  I promise my next blog will be about something fun, frivolous, and maybe informative.  Mardi Gras is upon us here in Louisiana and that's always something to talk about.


Clutter Diva