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Brenda has been writing since grade school. She attended journalism school where she majored in professional writing. She loves to decorate, garden, read and spend time with her Yorkies.

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Out Of The Fray

Out Of The Fray

This morning I stood at the patio doors waiting for the dogs to come back in. 

I watched as the leaves came raining down on the patio. 

We didn't really have a fall season here this year. 

The leaves, they were still green.


I've been thinking about the responses I got to my post about sticking one's head in the sand. 

I'm wondering if it's perhaps a natural inclination when you get to a certain age. To pull back a bit from the media and the huge scope of the outside world. 

Is it self-preservation in some ways? 

I really don't think of it as pulling away like people do when they're depressed. 

Just pulling away because our bodies and our brains tell us it's time to get off the merry-go-round. It continues to whirl and twirl so fast. 

Whether we're aboard or not.

To just be able to stand back where we can be still and watch. And savor. And enjoy what's around us. 


I just want to have peace and quiet and be out of the fray.

On Being Alone...

I don't feel alone. Well, I'm not really. I have the pupsters.

I like being the only human in the house. 

I like eating alone.

Having the bathroom to myself.

Going to sleep and waking up in the quiet.

I like to lie awake at night, in the darkness, and contemplate the day. 

I don't fear growing older. I thought I would when I was young. 

But I don't. I really don't.

And The Leaves Came Falling Down...

It's afternoon now and I just looked out the patio doors. Almost all the leaves from the tree are now a thick carpet on the ground. 
And now, there are piles of them everywhere.

Winter weather, I suppose, has commenced. 

And as I look outside, with my reflection staring back at me in the glass, I realize how proud I be my own knight in shining armor.


Look what I literally stumbled across this morning...

Thrift Blogs To Inspire Your Creativity

Alert: I'm in it!

Thanks to Patrice, who is the author of one of the blogs, who posted it to me on Twitter.

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Cozy Little House
Abi's Apparently Hurt Herself Again

Abi's Apparently Hurt Herself Again

Do you all recall this time last year that Abi had to have ACL surgery? 

And she wouldn't leave it alone and as soon as I got her home, I had to turn right around and take her back so they could put the dressing on her wound again?

And then we went through about 8 weeks of misery because I had to watch her constantly? Which is no easy feat.

Just like I've had to watch Charlie through his recent two eye surgeries.

Well, late yesterday afternoon she started hopping around holding one of her back feet up. Her right foot.

I had a moment of sheer panic. 

I picked her up, felt around on the pads of her feet to see if she had anything in there that was hurting her. 

Nope. She never flinched. So it surely can't be her foot.

So I called the vet and, pretty much holding my breath, asked them which leg she had to have surgery on last year.

And yeah, it was her right leg.

So we have an appointment for Friday morning.

Heavens, I just got Charlie's eye surgeries paid for. 

But then I guess in doggy years, the pupsters are 70 years old.

When I would take Charlie to the eye specialist the past two months, we'd be sitting in a waiting room full of people with old dogs having things done like cataract surgery. 

Oh, Abi. 

We live in a one bedroom apartment. I have three sets of doggy steps with carpet for you two. There's no need to jump at all. So why must you jump???

One set of doggy steps to the bed. One to the couch. And one to the chair. 

Which is primarily why I have to get this coffee table out of here. I tend to trip on either the doggy steps or the coffee table when I get up from my chair.

And if Mama goes down, who's going to take care of you two?
Now what Sam fool thing have you done? Torn your ACL again?

Heavens to Pete, I sure wish you could understand what I'm telling you. 

I wish we could go one month without an injury around here of some variety.

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Cozy Little House
Is There Anything Wrong With Having One's Head In The Sand?

Is There Anything Wrong With Having One's Head In The Sand?

Now that I'm finished with my Christmas decorating, I'm getting more cooking done. And resting.

This Week's Menu...

Yesterday I cooked a pot roast in the crock pot. Then I like to take it out and put it into the Breville oven for about 10-15 minutes to make it a little crisper.

I've managed to stretch the scalloped potatoes all the way through the meatloaf and now the pot roast. And I now have one more serving for tonight with the leftover roast beef. 

I finished up my pan of cornbread last night. 

Of course it was a daily staple when I was growing up.  

That was good eating. Cornbread with fresh eggs gathered (usually be me) from the hen house.

Kids nowadays probably don't know as much about fresh food as we did "in the old days."

But then again I read many blogs that have somewhat "returned to that era" and are canning vegetables and fruits from their gardens. Making more foods from scratch.

Jemma, I guess you've got canning down to a fine art after this past summer. I'm impressed that you got so much done your first summer in your new Texas home!

What I'm Watching, Or Not Watching...

Do any of you watch the show Criminal Minds? If you do, what do you think of the show without Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore this season?

I've only seen one episode. I just could not bring myself to watch more without the two characters, Hotch and Derek. They were such an integral part of the show!

Is it any good with them gone? 

The Blacklist...

The Blacklist was a little disappointing this past season, although I think it starts up again next month, like many prime time shows will.

I do still love the mannerisms of Red (James Spader). I think he invented that character and absolutely nailed it. 

It is a little distracting though with Liz and her hair changes every season. I wish she'd just go back to the way it was when the show began. (See above photo)

The last two seasons, her hair kind of looks like someone forgot to tend to it before she went before the camera.

Good Old Law & Order...

I'm sitting here with Law & Order reruns going in the background. I guess I'll watch them forever. 

I consider Sam Waterston a fine and distinguished actor.

Back in Texas I had People magazine coming in the mail every week. And I read it front to back.

Now I have no idea what's going on in Hollywood. Who got who pregnant. Who's been seeing who behind their spouse's back. Who's in rehab and who's fallen off the wagon. 

And really, I don't much care.

Just got my stubborn old head in the sand...

What I'm Reading...

I started this book last night, "Under The Influence" by Joyce Maynard.

It came in the mail yesterday. And I'd just finished a book the night before, so I decided to start reading it. 

I review books for Harper Collins and then post my opinion here, as you know.

This book is about a woman who has lost custody of her son due to her problem with alcohol.

On Being A Hermit...

I seem to live under a rock these days. 

If what's going on in the world doesn't appear on my laptop when I first turn it on in the morning, before I click over to read email or write on this blog, then I usually don't hear about it. 

In a way, it's kind of comforting to live "out of the loop." 

I tend to watch reruns of old shows, read books, and I only know about an earthquake if it shook this apartment I'm sitting in. 

I gave up on local and national news a few years ago. "If it bleeds it leads" got old. The drama of the newscasts left me frustrated. 

Some would say I've got my head in the sand. 

But my little ordinary life pleases me just fine.

In the last few months before my 60th birthday, I just want to live in my little hermit's nest. 

And do most of my socializing with all of you readers.

While the pupsters snooze happily beside me. 

And old Law & Order shows continue to run in the background, just as good now as they were the first time around. 

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Cozy Little House
Book Review: Dakota Blues

Book Review: Dakota Blues

Karen seems to spend all her time working. Her career defines her.

Her husband tells her that he has gotten a woman half his age pregnant and needs a divorce.

Her mother dies and she flies back home for the funeral, chastising herself for not taking time off to go back and visit her while she was still alive.

While she's back home, her boss decides to fire her. 

At age 50, Karen is facing a divorce and the end of her job and possibly her career. She wasn't as important and influential in her position as she'd thought. 

She has worked long enough to make good wages. And the powers that be oftentimes fire women and men like her, so they can hire someone younger and pay them less. 

I think this is a good book for any woman to read, particularly if you are in this age group.  

It often takes a disaster or a divorce or both to make us pause for reflection. To look at where we are in our lives.

Money is one thing, as everyone has to pay the bills. 

But no one wants written on their gravestone: "I worked myself to death and while I did I somehow missed out on living."

So many words of wisdom in this book! 

I downloaded this book free on my Kindle through one of the freebie e-book sites. But I would have gladly purchased this one in book form. 

This book is about a woman who is forced to look at what is truly important in life. What she first thinks of as a horrible turn of events ends up being the best thing that has ever happened to her.

And with this epiphany, she realizes that the little every day things in life are what is most precious. 

Rain on your face. Touching the velvety softness of a rose petal. Watching the sun rise and set.

All these things have no dollar tags, therefore they are free to enjoy. If only one takes the time.

Reading this book while Karen learns this lesson herself is a gift in and of itself.

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Cozy Little House
So I Ordered A Red Ottoman From Target

So I Ordered A Red Ottoman From Target

Naturally once I got to thinking about an ottoman, I had to look online at Target. Someone had mentioned looking there. 

I saw that this was a one-day sale for $83. It is 17 inches high and 24 inches round. Inside storage. (You know I need storage in a one-bedroom apartment.)

Had it in red, so I grabbed it after doing some measuring. 

I will have to figure out what to do with the big square coffee table. 

Anyone in Tulsa need a 32" square coffee table? It is made of good wood. In fact that's why I ordered it.

Again, here's what it looks like. It came unfinished. I first painted it with French blue chalk paint. I didn't like the finish. 

So I then painted it with Valspar cabinet paint, which is very durable. It is my go-to paint source now, and what I painted the cupboard in the background with.

Here's what it said about it online where I purchased it (Wayfair).

From Montana Woodworks®, the largest manufacturer of handcrafted, heirloom quality rustic furnishings in America comes the Homestead Collection line of furniture products. Handcrafted in the mountains of Montana using solid, American grown wood, the artisans rough saw all the timbers and accessory trim pieces for a look uniquely reminiscent of the timber-framed homes once found on the American frontier. This delightful coffee table with shelf underneath adds just the right amount of rustic styling to your living room or other indoor area. 20-Year limited warranty included at no additional charge.


You know I couldn't pass up red at that price that had storage!

Guess when it arrives, will try to put the coffee table under the gazebo.

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Cozy Little House
A Little More Decorating & A Dilemma

A Little More Decorating & A Dilemma

I'm about to wrap up this Christmas decorating thing I have had going on every day. 

I opted not to have any decorations in the bedroom because Abi has a problem with coughing at night. And I was afraid the glitter, etc., would irritate her throat. 

Sometimes she gets her tonsils inflamed from coughing. 

I've been using my essential oil diffuser with lavender oil in it the last week and seems she coughs less. Could be the water it sends out that helps the dry room.

Simple has been the name of the decorating game this year. 

Below I put a few things on my little stove. But then I ended up not liking the white bead garland around the tree after I saw it in the below photo, so I took it off.

I'm sure you've probably done this. Purchased something and then decided it doesn't work in your home.

For me it is the square blue coffee table. I ordered it from Wayfair and painted it, since it wasn't painted. 

It is 32 inches square, and I measured and measured and thought that would work. But it's just too clunky and big, and I run into it because of the two doggy steps. One going to the chair and one to the couch.

So I'm thinking I really need something like a nice little square ottoman to go there instead. Then someone sitting on the couch could put their feet up.

But what to do with the coffee table? I'd like to get some of my money out of it. Which was I think $199 for the table and then paint. 

I am reluctant to put it on Craig's List because I don't want strange people coming to look at it with me being alone. I'd have to give them the gate code to get in too.

I think the coffee table is beautiful, just not right for my small space. Any ideas?

I'm doing several loads of laundry. The day is overcast. I have my candy cane tree lights on. I've been enjoying it during the day because I spend my evenings in the bedroom.

But then I'm one to worry about the amount of electricity it might be using. Hope it doesn't raise my bill by much. 

I'm nutty about going around and making sure every single light is off when I leave the room. I think I drive people a little crazy when they're here and I follow them around doing that!

Not that anyone is here much. And I had Israel trained pretty good about turning things off. He isn't here very often any more, so it isn't much of an issue!

Are you still decorating for the holiday?

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Cozy Little House

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