Monday, June 30, 2008


From time to time Gus and Cotton have the occasional disagreement.

Usually it stems from Gus' lack of initiative. I get chews when I bring home work or want to give them a treat. Cotton dives right in to enjoy hers. Gus eyes his and walks away to lie down near Cotton. And eyes HER chew. It took me some time to figure this out. Once she has the end good and soft, he stands up and yips at her. It's a totally different voice from his normal booming bark. It's a nagging voice is what it is. As in "I want that one, give me that one, I saw it first". Frequently, she turns her head and ignores him. Sometimes she doesn't budge and ignores him. Once in a great while, she leaves the room and ignores him. You can see the common thread.

This is when Gus stares at me, willing me to intervene. Like below. I don't and Cotton finishes, gets a drink of water and all is quiet.

Until now. Cotton apparently had had enough. She finished her chew, went to get some water (I know this because she is a loud drinker, and splashes water back over her feet so even if I didn't hear her, I would see the evidence on the bathroom floor). I digress.

On this night, Cotton decided she would show Gus what happened to dogs who didn't enjoy their chews. She returned and applied herself to Gus' chew, the ignored chew lying on the living room floor. She blatantly brought it into the room where I was and lay down to gnaw again.

Gus was indignant. Even if he didn't want to chew it, she shouldn't because it was his. He stared at her.

As you can see, she stopped chewing. And Gus took his chew and went off to chew it, full of righteous indignation.

I swear I saw Cotton grin.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Finders Keepers

Tonight I met Cindy for supper at Bonehead's. I love Bonehead's. It' s my kitchen away from kitchen.

As I walked in, I noticed a piece of paper on the ground. It looked like a book illustration. So I picked it up. It was of a spaniel and in pencil was a 12 lined thru with a 6 beside it. I deduced that it was cut from a book, and once cost $12, but was marked down to $6 (college pays off yet again!), and it had Gladys Emerson Cook in a corner of the drawing as the artist. Oh, and it also had 1945 noted to the left of the $6.

So, I was curious. On to Google. I learned that she was born in 1899 and died in 1976.

And, found this entry:

Gladys Emerson Cook
(American, 20th C. )
Gladys Emerson Cook is perhaps best known for her delightful drawings of dogs, many of which were used as book illustrations. She also drew advertisements, including cat ads for Carter's Ink and Puss n' Boots products. She also painted and did many original prints.Cook studied at the New York Art Student's League with Anthony Thieme and Yarnall Abbott.She exhibited at The National Academy of Design, 1953-1945; NY Public Library, 1942; Library of Congress; National Arts Club, NYC; Society of Illustrators, 1945; Abercrombie and Fitch, NYC and Bronx Zoological Park, 1941.

Here's the drawing I found:

Then, as I left, I noticed another piece of paper similar to the first in the island in the parking lot. Well, I had to stop. It WAS another one. This time a little dog.

I think someone was taking these to be framed, and dropped them. I wonder if they missed them. Perhaps they fell out of the car?

They have some damage; the spaniel is in better shape than the second one. On the back of each page are two smaller dogs with narrative.

Next, I consulted Ebay. Items for Gladys Emerson Cook ranged in price from $9.96 to $396 for a painting of a racehorse with jockey. Included was a lithograph of a cocker spaniel that looks like the one I found.
Makes me want to say "finders, keepers". But, I think I will call the framing shop tomorrow to find out if anyone brought any dog illustrations in to be framed. Maybe someone would be happy to have these back. Or not.
Tune in next time, folks, for the answer.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Wag First, Sniff Second

In late December of 2003, I went to visit a kennel south of Atlanta. I came home with a 4 month old GSD puppy. I had not planned to get a puppy that day, I just wanted to see the kennel.

On the drive home I alternated between panic and picking out a name. Although it was after Christmas, the Twelve Days of Christmas was playing on the radio of my Grand Cherokee. This is my favoriate Christmas decorating theme. And the name came to me: Piper. Scottish name for a German dog, odd I know, but that was it.

I took her to my vet as soon as they were open, and Karen referred me to Twelve Paws. It was the beginning of a wonderful relationship. Piper loved puppy class, and later Michael in particular. I found friends in Elaine and Micheal as well as in class and "puppy run around", Piper found a place where she was comfortable and could have fun.

Below are Michael and Piper at the beginning of their mutual admiration and love affair (look at her tail-girlfriend had a long tail).

Here's a normal night at Twelve Paws:

Here are Piper and Jacy, with Becky's legs in the background. I think.

Twelve Paws Academy and Social Club Players:

Maxee is the most laid back of the group, I think. He was always tolerant of the ADD puppies!

I don't have a picture of Fargo, but Fargo is king. Amen.

Dakota - I always think of him as the Big Brother of the group, maintaining order and decorum with body blocks and steely glares. Alas, not everybody got his point.

Annie - she will live in my memory with a latex hamburger either in her mouth or between her paws. She chooses when to let you throw it for her to retrieve.

Jacy - she reminds me of me, staying a little on the edge to be sure nothing surprising happens, or if it does, she can see it coming first. Very judicious in selecting her friends. She came over to let me pet her, so I count myself a friend.

Baxter (and Robin) - he was sometimes called bad boy Baxter, but of course he wasn't. He played with Piper and all the dogs and had the greatest expressions. He and Robin always did their homework. And showed up me and Piper.

After we (since the whole Twelve Paws bunch loved her too) lost Piper, the The Twelve Paws Cotton Locating Team (TPCLT) helped me find a golden retriever and went with me to pick one out. We were all a bit taken aback by the farm approach we saw there, but I found baby Cotton there and brought her home. She was smelly. Really smelly. Here is a picture of the TPCLT sans Michael and Robin (Robin took the picture - thank you Robin)

About 5 months later, Bailey's family finally gave him back to the breeder after a couple or three false starts, including my possibly getting him before I found Cotton. The TWCLT + Cindy reconvened, and although Robin could not go, we set out in two vehicles to get Gus (nee Bailey). Gus had been buzz cut in February when I got him, and the picture below is after some growing out of his coat. Two dogs was a big adjustment, but again, Twelve Paws was available for counseling. Everyone came home with me and Cotton to support both of us as we welcomed Gus home.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Important things I learned at Twelve Paws:

  1. yogurt and pumpkin are good for canine upset stomachs

  2. always be selective about the food you feed your dog, and don't feed too much (because of this, my dogs weren't in jeopardy when the major brands had so many recalls last year)

  3. excercise addresses a lot of issues

  4. try new things

  5. dogs are family, too

  6. it's okay to make a mess, just clean it up

  7. wag first, sniff second

  8. relationships are everything

In 2007, Michael and Elaine decided it was time to do something new, and Twelve Paws is no more. The training center has probably been leased by someone else by now, and it's hard to keep in touch without that weekly check in for socialization for canines and humans (well, it's hard for me, since that's something I'm not good at).

Hey, everybody from Twelve Paws: Thanks and I miss you!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Favorite Movies

So, I've never been able to reply immediately what my favorite color, book, dessert, food, movie or song was. It's situational. But I watched a movie last night, The Station Agent, that made me start thinking about which movies would be my favorites and why. These are in no order, because, as I said, it's situational.

  1. The Longest Day - a WWII movie with a cast of characters to die for.
  2. A Bridge Too Far - another WWII movie I love. and will stop what I'm doing to watch even though I own a copy.
  3. The Way We Were - I loved this and now can't sit still to watch it now since I know the ending.
  4. The Godfather - Luca Brazi sleeps with the fishes
  5. Cinema Paradiso - subtitles but full of wonder
  6. The Hunt for Red October - because of Sean Connery's brogue and despite Alex Baldwin
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird - Gregory Peck, a very young Robert Duvall and my favorite book
  8. Pretty Woman - underdog meets happily ever after
  9. Steel Magnolias - small towns, girlfriends, sacrifice and pursuit of good hair
  10. O Brother Where Art Thou? - In the 70s there were still men dressed like that in rural Alabama
  11. The Jungle Book
  12. Live and Let Die
  13. Raiders of the Lost Ark - well, the first 3, I haven't seen the new one
  14. The Net - plausible fear
  15. An Affair to Remember & You've Got Mail
  16. The Quiet Man - John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara. "Hallooo, woman o' tha house" and the best cross country fight on film
  17. The Client - you had to love that kid and it had a short run as a tv series that I liked too
  18. Desk Set - Spencer and Tracy, real intelligence bests artificial intelligence
  19. A Wonderful Life
  20. The Sound of Music

I'm quitting now. But see what I mean? Too many for there to be a favorite. The closest would be To Kill a Mockingbird.

Then there are the movies I watched one time. Old Yeller, Dances With Wolves, Bambi and Dumbo come to mind as some that I can't watch anymore because the animals face unhappiness or death. The Way We Were is another non-animal example. And Boys Don't Cry. What a downer. I think there was just enough in me to get through that story once, and never again.

And I love Gettysburg, but can't watch the inevitable, sure doom of Pickett's Charge anymore, even as I marvel at the willingness of the Confederates to follow him up that hill all those years ago.

I am always surprised to have that avoidance reaction and not quite sure where it comes from.

Okay, let's hear it. What are your favorites? And the not favorites?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Passing Gas

This is a photo taken in Italy, at the Verrazano winery. I think Cindy took it.

The "spouts" on the top of each barrel are how the wine breathes during fermentation. Water is poured in the top once it's tapped the barrel and a glass put upside down on top of that. If the barrel is pushed, as it was on our tour, the wine passes gas via the spout on the top. And the wine never is touched by air, which would ruin everything.

This arrangement was created by someone famous, probably Leonardo, the original multi-tasker and overachiever, not long after the dawn of time. I wasn't really listening to the tour guide. I was looking at the doorway I was standing in, at the barrel behind me, fidgeting and wondering how I could buy a house in Italy and move the dogs there.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Foreign language

Tomorrow night is bridge group. Below are (l to r) Sammy, Marlene and hostess Cindy. We are on her porch, playing at her new table. With the table came the most comfortable chairs, they rock and spin.

I took a bridge class this Spring at Peachtree Pres. It was as if I had finally learned the language! I had been playing with Marlene's group for a while, but I was lost as to the bidding, which is only the key to the whole thing. So anyway, once I started understanding the bidding was a code, it was like Helen Keller when Annie Sullivan pumped that water in her hand and spelled W-A-T-E-R in her other hand. I knew I still had a lot to learn, but at least I was beginning to comprehend.

Below is Bailey, Cindy's male Maine Coon Cat. He is big. Large. Gi-nor-mous. He is an accomplished escape artist. This is the cat that I left my cozy home to go help rescue at Cindy's at 10 pm one night when she got home from some event and did not find him inside. I walked through ivy (I never walk in ivy, everyone knows snakes live in there) and called and called and flashed the flashlight with Cindy who was convinced he was gone. Then we heard it: the faint, pitiful, plaintive sound of a cat hoping to come home, eat his kibble and avoid the consequences once Cindy had gotten over her fright. He was in the neighbor's yard, but couldn't get back over the fence. It was an act, I tell you, designed to get Cindy's sympathy.

But here he is. Reclining at his leisure on the glider. Clearly he knows the language.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Gotcha! This is not about the highest job in the land, it's which photo do you like better?

Vote 1 if you like the first one better, Vote 2 if you like the second one better.
For heaven's sake, help a girl out. For all that's decent and good, vote! Because I've not subjected you to campaign advertising, vote! Because your vote can change history. Your vote counts!
Oh, and the two chicks in the lower left corner are Pam and Cindy, respectively. In Tuscany. Pienza to be exact. I fell in love with Pienza. This view of a lane overlooking a valley is all that's right with Tuscany. In the distance you can see the hills. in Pienza I paid for a candle so I could light it in the chapel next to the Pope's house. That was a first.
This is also the excursion that resulted in driving on a road that Tom-Tom showed was in the middle of a field.
And kept saying "turn around at the nearest exit".
Tom-Tom felt so strongly about that, he repeated it going and coming. Apparently, Tom-Tom had not downloaded an update on new road construction. I must say it is unnerving to rely on a device that says you are traveling on a non-existent road in both directions, on a road with "round abouts", in a country in which you do not speak the language, at dusk. Everyone knows dusk is the hardest time to drive. I think Tom-Tom was having a little fun at our expense.
All's well that ends well, though, because we got back to Castellina in time, 9:15 pm, to eat at the restaurant up the road from the hotel Cassafrassi where we stayed, and had THE BEST PASTA of the trip. And YUMMY STEAK. And sat on the patio next to a group with a German Shepherd laying under the table.
It was a good day.
P. S. You can call 1-800-mollyfly if you'd like to contribute to the fund that will let me return to Italy.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Guernsey LIterary and Potato Peel Pie Society

I belong to an online book group. Each month they have advance reading copies you can request, and if you are selected you get a free book to read and review. I recently got The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows.

I was trying to make my review so brief it ended up sounding constipated (but it was published, thankyouverymuch):

Irrepressible human spirit
The daily privations and loss during a war time occupation are held at bay by generosity and ingenuity resulting in a clandestine feast of contraband pork. The book club hastily formed as an excuse for breaking Nazi curfew becomes a source of strength, courage and hope for the members struggling to survive the war, and results in a journey home for the journalist who visits them after the war.

At any rate, I enjoyed it. It was in epistolary form - which is kind of fun for a change. And it covered a portion of WWII history that I know little about, although I like WWII history. There is one society member who is positively adventuresome in his war time cooking - hence part of the name.

Read it!

Oh, and if you want to see Bookbrowse for yourself, click here: Bookbrowse

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Before and After

Okay, I took a lot of weird shots in Italy because I took the wrong lens to my once in a lifetime vacation to Tuscany and Umbria. But through the miracle of Photoshop Elements, I can make the most of what I got.

For example, here's a nice shot of a window box

And it's crooked, and there are power lines marring what is otherwise an old world feel. So, ix-nay on the owerline-pay. And a little squaring up. And a little cropage (no, Rob, it's not a word in a dictionary sense, but I think everyone gets it). And a little lighten/brighten action and a dash of sharpen. Presto, change-o and here you go:

This is fun!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Concerts, part deux

Ha! I was right, I forgot two pretty good ones:

Matchbox 20 (I loved them and Lifehouse opened for them and they were great!) but when I looked around I felt soooooo old.

Jimmy Buffet at an ampitheater in Birmingham (Parrot Heads rule!)

Of course, it's only because Becky emailed me her list that I recalled Jimmy Buffet who by the way is right up there with the Eagles on my favorites list.

And Rob emailed me that he'd been to 5, one of which he and I went to together. This is because I had always vowed that if the Eagles reunited for a tour, I was going. Period. So, they went on tour just after I moved to Atlanta, and they were coming to Atlanta, but I couldn't get through to Ticketmaster, so I bought tickets for Birmingham from a scalper. Who, when I called the 1-800 number said "Molly?, Molly Faircloth? Rob's sister?" Can I just say that was a bit twilight zone? For those of you who are missing the import of this, THE SCALPER WAS LOCATED IN TROY, ALABAMA, MY HOME TOWN. That's right, TROY. Not Atlanta, not Birmingham, Memphis, New York, Las Vegas or anywhere else one would expect a scalper to be, TROY. ALABAMA.

Who knew?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I just saw a post that asked "what concerts have you been to?"

My first thought was I haven't been to many. Then I started counting and there were more than I realized:

Pablo Cruise
The Pointer Sisters
Don McLean
The Eagles
Aretha Franklin
Bon Jovi

And now I have this little niggling thought that that's not all. But as I've noticed lately, I have no memory.

What concerts have you been to?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Prayer for Rain

O God, in Whom we live and move, and have our being, grant us rain in due abundance, that, being sufficiently helped with temporal, we may the more confidently seek after eternal gifts. Amen.

Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit. James 5:18

Universal Truth

It is a universal truth that a single woman with a house is in want of a hand truck.

Or this single woman, anyway.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Happy Birthday, Rob!

On June 1, 1967 my life changed, although I was probably unaware exactly of what was going on. I do recall that my grandmother came to stay and when I had a nightmare she and my dad both got up to check on me, and my mom was Otherwise Occupied. Hmmm. There are pictures of me rocking Rob when he is brand new, he laying across my lap, me covered in band aids sitting in the mission style rocker we had. Not sure where that photo is.

There is some story about me dropping Rob that I don't lend much credence to, probably it is propaganda spread by Rob once he could talk. But this is not about me, it's about Rob, who turns --do the math folks--41, forty-one, xxxxi. Yep, that's right. The little whippersnapper below has attained an age of gravitas, of responsibility, of maturity.

Join me for some Rob stories, won't you?

Okay - look at the face above. Angelic, right? I mean, it's not his fault some adult gave him a combover.

Once I had a coloring book and Rob wanted to color in it. We are four years apart, meaning I had mastered (just) staying in the lines, and Rob, well, Rob didn't really do lines at that point. Still doesn't, come to think of it. Anyway, I said no, and lay down on the floor to color. That sweet faced little cherub went around the house, slipped up behind me and bit my back, so hard his teeth met and I had to have a tetanus shot. Trauma of injury and agony of a shot. I do NOT recall Rob getting any sort of punishment. Typical.

Excuse me while a take a moment to collect myself. Have I mentioned my deep loathing of needles?

Ok, next up, the clock: the grandparents hung a clock on the brick fireplace that was painted once they enclosed the den (which was miniscule and boasted an antique potty concealed in a wooden cabinet). It was square and turned on it's side so it was a diamond shape. It was battery powered. One day when an adult noticed the clock was not running, they retrieved a replacement battery and took the clock down, only to find that the guts of the clock were held in place by tape, and were in no sort of functional order. Our little angel had taken the clock apart to figure out how it worked and taped everything back together and hung the clock up to avoid censure. Was this a sign of things to come?

A few years later, Rob had friends over and they were taking turns riding down our hill and up a bank on the alley to jump something on that bank, I think it was some sort of meter. Anyway, Rob crashed. He walked back to the house, spoke to no one and went to bed. I can't recall what happened to his friends - did they go home? Who knows? Turns out he had a concussion.

Rob did get pretty good at grilling chicken one year, I think he was around 9 or 10, and was entered in some sort of competition. The grandparents got him ready, took him to the shady spot by Troy's Lake Lagoon near the Troy State campus and got him unloaded. Rob set about loading the charcoal (is that what one does?), putting some, but not too much, lighter fluid on, and getting his fire started. Oh. Did I mention that my grandmother, thrifty soul she was, bought a new bag of charcoal just for the event, and instead of buying Kingsford, bought Piggly Wiggly's cheapest for the contest? Yes indeedy, folks. There sat young Rob, eagerly waiting for his charcoal to get hot, thwarted by saving what could only have been 75 cents. Rob didn't win, didn't even really get the chicken hot that I remember. Poor Rob. And yet he's risen from the ashes, as it were, to go on to grill for his family. On a gas grill.

Would you like to take a visual walk down memory lane? Good. Step lively, now.

Here's Rob around 1 1/2, smartly outfitted in a corduroy and stripes, complete with hat. I'm on the left, and don't I look smartly turned out? Oh, but you wanted to see Rob. Coming right up.

In this one, Rob must be around 4 or 5, and is sitting on a ball on the sofa. Note the boots, and the Auburn cap. Rob, for a few dollars, I can make this one go away. Forever.

Here's a charming sibling portrait. Dawn on the left, Rob in the middle and me on the right. Rob has entered his "I don't want my picture taken" phase.

Jumping way ahead, here's Rob and Mother just after Brooks was born. I remember that very well, Rob was so proud! Just as he's been at the births of Eli, Audrey and Metz. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Rob and his bride Carrie have 4 wonderful, beautiful, brilliant, wacky, fun children. You'll have to ask Carrie if Rob really changes diapers or not.

Well folks, I hope you have enjoyed reminiscing with me. There are tales and photos of Rob that I still have up my sleeve, for whenever I feel things need a little livening up. Rob, do you recall the lizard photo? Be afraid, be very afraid.

But for now, I leave you with this snapshot - I think it captures Rob's essential core:

Happy birthday, Rob! I love you.


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