Spider-spider, Spider-spider…Does whatever a Spider-spider does…

Spiders…are they friend or foe?  I find the ones that create fantastic webs on my porch and in my backyard are there to do nothing but live.  But the ones inside my house?  Oh no, those have to go.  Crawl into my home and you’ll get the boot!

Here are a collection of spider images that I find best illustrate just some of the spiders local to Hampton Roads.  These also represent Days 17 through 22 of my Project 365!

Burly Spider

Day 17

Spider Center

Day 18

Writing Spider

Day 19

Mother Spider

Day 20

Day 21

Day 21

Day 22

Day 22

Dogs: My Four-Legged Children & Why I Love Them.


I am especially emotional today.  My oldest, a 7.5-8.5 year old Labrador/Rottweiler/Alaskan Malamute mix named Murphy, is displaying some erratic behavior lately.  I still need to observe him for another day before I can determine if this is passing or requires Vet attention, but his behavior is definitely not “within the norms” for him.

Murphy came to us on a whim.  Memorial Day weekend of 2009, my husband and I were attending a local event and decided it was boring us.  (These things happen.)  My husband says, “Why don’t we go look at dogs?”  I immediately said yes.  Off we went to the local Animal Control adoption center, where we saw the most handsome yet saddest looking (what we thought was a) Labrador Retriever in the history of the world.  Murphy

(Now I know the sad-eye Lab thing is a worldwide phenomenon, but it still amazes me how he could constantly look like we stole his favorite toy, even when it’s right at his feet.)

We went outside with him into a visitor pen, and he came over to us, licking our hands.  We were in love.  We paid $75 and became dog-parents.  Getting him into the backseat of my car was nerve-wracking because we had no idea if he would let us handle him, if he was ok with backseats or cars, if he would snap…  Eventually we got him home.

Later that night, paranoia spread.  He was acting narcoleptic, wanting to fall asleep where he sat upright, sometimes falling over.  He had a hacking cough, and there was crust forming on the front of his nose.  I convinced myself I had fallen in love with a dog that was going to die from heartworm disease.  But a trip to a vet the next morning confirmed it was a bad case of Kennel Cough, and with medicine he was fine.

Boy was he fine!  As soon as he could smell again, he was a leash-pulling machine.  Walks were insane, and he would lunge towards anything that moved in an effort to get to it and either love it or play with it.  Murphy loves everything, from car rides to other dogs, from children to trips to the vet.  He is euphoric when you ask him if he wants an R-I-D-E.  He loves W-A-L-Ks.  If kids come in his presence, he kisses and licks them clean while they giggle.  MurphyHe is always told he is handsome and one of the prettiest dogs because of his shiny, espresso colored coat and his beautiful amber-color eyes.

And he is my boy.  We spent 7 months together bonding while my husband went on a deployment to Africa.  During that time, I developed commands that have stuck with Murphy.  We took neighborhood walks together and R-I-D-Es to various places.  He kept me company when I was sick with the flu and kept the bed warm during cold winter nights.  He listens when I talk to him, and he groans when I hug him.  He talks back to me when I tell him to do things, and I love every whine, yip, bark, and moan.  He is my boy.

Early 2014, we adopted a puppy from foster care.  I named her Kili, and she is the annoying little sister to her big brother Murphy.  They play and tussle, and when she annoys him he snaps at her to put her in her place.  They are night and day in their personalities, with her being a spastic lap dog that barks at everything and him being a calm, independent guard dog that I had to teach to bark.

Kili and Murphy love each other fiercely, and that is how we love them.  We love their doggie smells, the way they cock their heads when you talk to them, their frito feet, the web toes they each have, how they play, how they cuddle, how they are happy to see you’re home, and how sad they are to see you leave.  They appreciate you in a way that very few people ever will, and they do it believing you are simply part of their pack.  They ask for simple things, and they always love you.  Murphy

I hope whatever is happening with Murphy is temporary.  I hope I can have him happy and healthy for a few years more.  I want him to be capable of playing with his sister and groaning when you have him move to another spot on the bed.  I love my boy, and I need him to stay with us.

Murphy Murphy Murphy Murphy

The Star of Autumn

Day 14 - and TBT!

What is it, you ask?

Why it’s the leaves!

The lovely, color-changing beauties that decorate the landscape in a fantastic scientific process.  The fabulous colors that Mother Nature uses in Autumn just boggle the mind.  Scarlet reds, juicy oranges, brilliant golds, toasty browns, and vibrant greens.  Everything is blanketed in warm colors that belie the chill in the air.  The scent of leaves fills our noses as we go outside, combining perfectly with the scent of pine, firewood, and spices.

All I need now is to go for a walk with a cup of hot apple cider…

The Road Less Traveled

Part of my being loves to travel.  Deep down into my soul, I feel drawn to the open road. I love seeing new places, exploring, and visiting new locales to find something my eyes have never seen before.

I also love maps.  I love finding out where a road will lead me.  I crave discovering abandoned buildings, unspoiled landscapes, and vistas that yearn to be captured by a camera as much as the mind.

Last weekend, I visited the Shenandoah National Park, by way of Skyline Drive.  I was only prepared to discover a portion of it, but since I am only 3 hours away, visiting it’s beautiful views again will certainly happen!  The quarter traveled was amazingly beautiful, with stunning overlooks and gorgeous blue skies welcoming us.  The trees were near their peak for Autumn, and the colors were rich and powerful.  I felt so fortunate to visit on such a lovely day!

Everyone should take time to go down a road they have not yet seen.  Allow yourself permission to get lost, even for a little while.  Let the landscape unwind before you and feast on all the views it has to offer.  Take joy in the new experiences and sights.  Be at peace and feel yourself relax, knowing that you have taken an escape away from the stress of normality.

Day 13

Day 13 of Project 365

A Happy Place

There was a photo challenge asking what my Happy Place is.  More specifically, the photo challenge asked where I go to get my “groove back”.  Recharging batteries – the mental ones – is such an important idea and something none of us do as often as we really should.

I noticed that there are companies in Sweden switching to 6 hour workdays, and there are companies in the United States now providing unlimited vacation.  Businesses in Europe have been participating in “siestas” for as long as I can remember.  We all need to remember to “find the time” and just relax.  To let go of the stress and the worry.  Sometimes taking a daytrip to a beautiful place, or even just an hour in your own neck of the woods, can be very powerful on our psyche.

I enjoy many places.  My husband loves the ocean and places far away from humanity.  I love the mountains and the woods, but most importantly the trees.  To quote Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, “We’ll find safety and solace in the trees.”  I find this to be one-hundred percent true.  Trees create their own music, they creak with age and exude a powerful knowledge of what used to be.

A Happy Place

So here is my happy place.  Where is yours?

Project 365 – Day 4 and 5 have been posted!

Please see two new recently captured photos, available now in my Project 365 Gallery.

Day 4 came from a family portrait session done yesterday morning (photos will be publicly available soon!).  Day 5 came from a lovely afternoon view from my backdoor.  I especially love Day 5 because of its ability to remind me of movies from circa 1940.  Completely a technicolor view!

Don’t you just love beautiful views that happen by sheer accident and will of nature?