Eclectic, quirky, and sometimes edgy…this is how things look from my front porch.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Okay so Spunky is the adorable dog that lives across the back fence.  In fact, when Roger, Spunky's Dad, built a new privacy fence, he deliberately left part of the old, shorter chain link there so that Spunky could visit with Maxine and Little Bit across the fence, so to speak.

Now Spunky is, as they say, a young pup, and Maxie and Little Bit are senior dogs.  He was mildly interested and polite. 

But then Thelma and Louise came to live here and suddenly he was extremely interested, attractive young ladies that they are.  At first Roger was getting stressed about Spunky's jumping the fence into the backyard.  However, we finally agreed that this wasn't actually a big problem between good neighbors.

So life with puppies once again is really interesting.  As I type this, Louise is chewing up used Kleenex.  So far Thelma has chewed up a pair of shoes, my Fox and Friends ball cap, and a brand-new bra.  I love them both dearly, but you forget how puppies can be.

I raced home from a client, a church about 45 minutes away and ran in to let all the dogs out.  Cue the music, "WHO LET THE DOGS OUT?"  I left the back storm door cocked open so our elderly Maxine could come back in as soon as she wanted to.  I ran upstairs for something and stopped to go to the bathroom.  I sat there for a minute, just catching my breath.  It was about the first time that day I'd had a chance to sit down.

I heard some dog tags and someone bounding up the stairs.  Not unusual in this house.  I sat looking out the window at  the azaleas.  And then Spunky walked into my bathroom and sat down.  He looked at me, with his head cocked to one side, quizically. 

My immediate reaction was embarassment.  A strange dog and all.  Okay I can deal with four dogs, one elderly dog that needs to be carried up the stairs at night...all 90 pounds of her.  But I draw the line a strange dog jumping the fence and waltzing into my bathroom.  It's all about boundaries.

Birthday Pitcher

I have wonderful friends.  One of the  most wonderful is my friend, Nancy.  Nancy is my partner-in-crime, my fellow lover of all things "Twilight," as well as being the Queen of Thrift Shopping.

My birthday is coming up and she gave me this beautiful bouquet picked from her yard, in a thrifted vintage (or maybe antique) pitcher.  I adore pitchers.  The bouquet has mock orange in it and it is filling my bedroom with the fragrance.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Quilt that Deana Made

I have a friend from the midwest who is a quilting artist.  She generally does avante garde art quilts.    You can find out more about her talent, designs, and where she has been published here:

Deana and I lived near each other years ago when our husbands were on nuclear submarines in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  We've kept in touch over the years.  After we had not been in physical contact for quite a while, about 15 years ago, Deana decided to make me a quilt.  She asked me some basics about style and colors and shipped it to my office at the Red Cross in San Diego.

I really cried when I opened it up.  This is not Deana's usual style of quilt, it was a labor of love for me.  I am all Irish.  She has embroidered prayers in Gaelic around the sides of the quillt and included embroidered shamrocks in the white, non-patterened areas. 

One thing I recall her saying is this:  "Don't you dare fold it up and not use it.  It was meant to be used."  She went on to tell me how to wash it.  There it is out on the line yesterday.  I keep it on my couch in the living room.  It compliments all my colors.  It is one of the five material possessions I'd grab on the way out if my house was on fire.  The dogs would go out with me first, but they are people, not material possessions.

Everytime I see it, I am reminded of Deana's unique world view and her incredible talents in a number of areas.

I don't know exactly what I did to deserve such an amazing present, but I wanted to share it with all of you.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ahhhhhhhhhhh, Spring


Thanks for all your kind words, comments, and prayers in regard to Kewon.  They brought tears to my eyes.


Thursday, April 8, 2010


This is the face of a statistic that you read about in the paper or see on the news every day. This young man’s greatest risk of death is not cancer, not AIDS, not starvation…his greatest risk of death is by murder.

He has the deck stacked against him. He is poor, he is a high-school drop-out, he is currently unemployed in the traditional sense, he is black, and he is gay. Most adults in this kid’s life have let him down in many ways, by their choices of partners, choices in how they spend their time, priorities they have chosen, and substances they have abused. The school system has failed him. If you saw this statistic walking down the street, some of you might be nervous.

This is also my godson, Kewon. This is the kid that was visiting the neighborhood and saw me walking my dogs when he was 8. Two days later, he asked me to come out and play. So I did.

This is the kid who asked me what the rainbow looking stuff on a shell was called at Fort Monroe beach and I told him “iridescence.” He’s never forgotten that word. This is the kid who looked at art books with me and listened to what I told him.

Later, he invited me to the Portsmouth Children’s Museum where his artwork was hanging. No one else in his family wanted to go. The picture depicted his bedroom. When I asked him how he had chosen the subject he said, “Because you told me that the Van Gogg (Van Gogh) guy painted his bedroom because he was too poor to be able to afford a model. I though that would be a good idea for me.”

This is the kid whose mother, when I asked her what big present he would like for Christmas replied, “I don’t know Miss Annie, you know him better than I do.”

This is the kid whose mother also used rent money to help bail her adult daughter’s drug dealer boyfriend out of jail, who didn’t pay her back. They were evicted and he was homeless at 16, living from couch to couch and too ashamed to tell me. His only link to his family and to me was a cell phone. When he was caught by a school administrator texting his mother who was in the hospital with MS, they took his phone. He became nearly hysterical and was told that if he wanted it back, he’d have to drop out. So he did. Throw away, inner city child.

This is the kid who once walked a mile to the ferry landing, took the ferry to Norfolk, walked a half a mile to the Dollar Store, and used the very little he had to buy me seeds and some garden gloves for Mother’s Day. I cried for an hour after he went home.

This is the kid who got in with the wrong crowd, not doing drugs or stealing, but just looking for acceptance. He went to a so-called female friend’s house to help her mother clean their house. The mother had been ill. This mother and daughter sent him to the store twice to pick up things, giving him counterfeit money to pay for it. He had no idea and certainly got no advantage from it, because he gave them back all the change. Now he faces four felony counts. Afterwards he sat in my living room and cried saying, “Miss Annie, when is it going to get easier?” My heart broke.

And despite all of this, this is the kid who is the newest employee of Marriott Corporation, effective Friday, working in the laundry and in housekeeping. This is the kid we coached all weekend, developed business cards for, who went to Goodwill and found a brand-new Polo by Ralph Lauren oxford cloth shirt and a Joseph A. Bank tie. I can assure you that he was the only interviewee who wrote a thank you note and enclosed his business card which he uses for odd jobs and mowing lawns.

So this is the child of my heart, Kewon, not a statistic, but a human being who perseveres despite circumstances which would knock the rest of us to the ground. This is the kid whose secret dream is to go to Paris some day. The kid who loves salad, because he never gets fresh anything at his house. The kid who drops off his GED homework for me to check after he’s worked his little landscaping business all day. The kid wth the great smile and the heart for helping everyone. You don’t need to cross the street if you see him walking.

Kewon is in God’s hands.  His trial is on my birthday. I only want one present…not guilty. We serve a God who makes all things new, and a God of justice. But next time you think of statistics, think of Kewon. The next time you hear about missionaries going to foreign fields, remember the missionary field right near your house. Kids and dogs…they aren’t throw ways. Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight. And if you can throw a few prayers his way on April 26, this “mother’s” heart would be glad.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Thelma and Louise

Sometimes I am not so fond of people in general, especially people who believe that animals are disposable. 

Somehow these two beautiful dogs were dumped in my neighborhood over the weekend. 

Huskies follow me, I don't know why. Thelma pictured right here is the third husky-type dog which has adopted me in the last twelve years.

Louise, standing there next to Thelma,  is a pit bull Labrador mix.  She is a lover and is so frightened that we have to carry her up the stairs.  Both of them cringe when you reach out too quickly.  Clearly, they have been abused by someone. As I said, sometimes I don't like people very much.

Here's Francis Beast, our adored Siberian husky who passed away during Christmas 2009.   He was a retired senior citizen in this picture, stretched out in front of the fireplace.   He found us in 2002.

This is me in the front hall with Maxine and Lupa, our first Siberian who found us in 1999.  She really looked like a wolf.  She was older when she found us, but loved us until she went home to be with God.  With me is Maxine, a lab mix who is still our main canine girl.  She is much loved and well cared for in her old age.

This is Little Bit, a Jack Russell/dauchshund mix who we adopted about a year after Maxine Bean.  She is fiesty, just like the little guy who always starts the bar fight.  She is also extremely smart and knows the precise geographic center under the bed where you can't reach her.

So we already have two dogs and really weren't looking for another, never mind another two. 

However, my beloved Maxine is not getting any younger.  In fact she is over 12 and was run over by a car when she was a rescued dog, so her arthritis is pretty bad.  We will love and care for her until it is time for her to go back to the Creator.  The huskies have a history of coming, when another dog is ready to go home with God.  One dog doesn't replace another, but it does make things easier.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter Weekend

Bowman's Garden Center is a magical place.  I'm getting ready to plant my garden and though I'd share some Easter weekend pics with you.  Happy Day!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I Feel A Bad Moon Rising

So this is one of my favorite restaurants, Baker's Crust, in the Ghent neighborhood of Norfolk, VA.  Baker's is a kind of an upscale bistro, with really amazing rotisserie chicken, artisan bread baked on site, wonderful sandwiches, and really great soup, such as the kickin' corn and crab chowder.  But I digress.

We were in a somber mood, having come from Jack Roper's wake.  Jack was my friend Sarah's father, a real pioneer in shipbuilding who built the largest dry dock in the world, the Titan.
But, again I digress,.
As we were being seated, I noticed that the hostess' eyes were dancing with supressed laughter.  Mystified, I followed her until I saw it

Apparently no one has told this guy that crack kills or that wearing a gunbelt pulls your pants down, as does a toolbelt.  This is why is is called "refrigerator repairman syndrome."  And OF COURSE he is sitting in a hard-backed chair that has a wicker type material across the back and under one's posterior, but leaves everything else just right there and a'hanging out in front of everyone.

Half the staff was laughing, and I had tears rolling down my face.  Our waiter, Timothy, who reminds me of a young man depicted in a wall mosaic found in the ruins of Pompei, came to the table, "Here's your bread and butt......uh butter," he said.  I lost it again.  There Mr. Butt Crack with the Smithfield Armory t-shirt sat...stolid, immoveable,and completely clueless.

So in an age which has become inreasingly ill-mannered and often unkind, perhaps I was both.  Or maybe people with heavy belts need to get a clue and modesty is best practiced by both men and women.  The air conditioning was on and, for the life of me, I cannot understand why he couldn't feel the air on an area of the body which shouldn't be hangin' out in the breeze.

So God rest Jack Roper, and God bless my friend Sarah and somebody give Mr. Smithfield Armory a clue.  Who needs to see this while they're eating?

So we apologize for the interruption to The View from 256's Holy Week musings and return you to your regularly-scheduled blog, which is already in progress.