Buddy Beagle

Birthday Boy!

Our Buddy turned 14 years old on July 17th! He’s blind in one eye, can’t really hear, and his back legs are giving him trouble, but he wags his tail when he sees us and he loves his walks. Looooooves his walks. Sure, we only walk 4 houses down the street but he is in his glory walking those 4 houses.

Mikey isn’t dumb. He saw what happened to Buster and he knows 14 years is a long life for a dog. For about a month now he’s been planning a birthday lunch for Buddy at Lazy Dog Cafe. We all thought it was a great idea.

Lazy Dog Cafe

Waiting and watching

We sat outside on the patio. There were dogs at every table, which was awesome. Buddy was content to people/puppy watch while we waited for lunch


Steamed brown rice and grilled chicken! He loved it.

Mikey and Buddy

The birthday boy and his event coordinator.

Birthday Ice Cream

The staff at Lazy Dog Cafe was so, so nice. Buddy was showered with compliments (they aren’t allowed to touch the dogs) and after lunch, they broke the rules a bit and gave him a scoop of ice cream with a candle. I mean, honestly. Buddy was over the moon. When we got home, he walked over to his favorite spot in the family room and slipped into a food coma.

Week 2

Week 2

Week 2, b

Week 2, c

Week 2, d

Week 2, e

Week 2, f

Week 2, g

There were a few late nights where I really didn’t want to do yoga in my cramped family room on stinky carpet while Buddy sniffed at me and Mikey and Nico argued about who touched whose piece of lint. On those days, I went on walks. Peaceful, solitary walks. I suddenly fell in love with walking again, so this week I didn’t do any yoga. I think yoga needs to be an early morning activity for me to do it with any sort of regularity. I’m thinking of setting up a little yoga area in my room. This way I can do my yoga first thing in the morning, on hardwood floors, without man or beast driving me nuts.

A few of the days I walked were thick like pea soup. So, so muggy! Horrible. Yuck. I can handle triple digit weather, but humidity is something else. People talk about the fiery depths of hell and how hot it is, but I suspect it’s really central Florida in August. Hell is your shirt sticking to your back.

Listening To: PITBULL featuring T-Pain & Sean Paul

I was in the mood for Latin music this week, so I played Shake Señora by Pitbull. It was my fastest walk this year.

The House of Tomorrow

The House of TomorrowThe House of Tomorrow by Peter Bognanni
Published by Penguin on 2010-03-04
Genres: Adolescence, Family, Fiction, Literary, Young Adult
Pages: 368
AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo three-stars
Sebastian Prendergast lives with his eccentric grandmother in a geodesic dome. His homeschooling has taught him much-but he's learned little about girls, junk food, or loud, angry music.

Then fate casts Sebastian out of the dome, and he finds a different kind of tutor in Jared Whitcomb: a chain-smoking sixteen-year-old heart transplant recipient who teaches him the ways of rebellion. Together they form a punk band and plan to take the local church talent show by storm. But when his grandmother calls him back to the futurist life she has planned for him, he must decide whether to answer the call-or start a future of his own.


I read a book from my unread library. I don’t know what possessed me to pick a book from the dozens and dozens of books I have collecting dust in my bookcases when I could have gone and spent money on three books, only one of which I’d read. I broke my system for a book about being different.

The House of Tomorrow
is a book I bought two years ago on Rachel’s recommendation. I couldn’t resist a book that hit upon favorites like coming of age, punk music, clever dialogue, and teenage boys. Here is where I make clear that I enjoy reading about teenage boys circumventing that awkward man-boy phase and gaining a sense of identity because I am the mother of two boys. I don’t like reading about teenage boys because I’m on the prowl.

This is a story about misfits. Sebastian lives in a geodesic dome with his intelligent and eccentric grandmother, who is obsessed with the deceased geodesic designer and futurist, Buckminster Fuller. Thanks to a convenient coincidence, he meets Jared Whitcomb, an angry boy with a serious medical condition and passion for punk music.

Sebastian’s grandmother listens to a CDs of whale songs of the Pacific, so Sebastian his first experience with punk rockers, the ultimate misfits of society, is visceral.

This time Jared went to his closet an took out a hard black plastic case. He unbuckled it and pulled out a dark blue guitar shaped like an upside-down V. I have never seen anything resembling it. It gleamed. On the side of the strings were thin airbrushed lightning bolts. He set the guitar in my hands.

“Be careful,” he said. “Don’t drop it.”

The plastic was cold in my hands. I gripped the neck and let the V sit across my legs. He went to the closet and pulled out a small amplifier and a cord.

“You are now holding probably the most badass ax ever,” he said.

He plugged everything in and a small hum escaped the amplifier when he flicked it on. “It has dual-fucking-humbuckers,” he continued, “a compound-radius fingerboard, and twenty-four jumbo frets. It will, if played right, melt your face off.”

“Do you play it at church?” I asked.

“Hell no, I do not play it at church,” he said. “It would probably piss off God so much, he’d have to blow up the chapel or something.”

While he spoke he arranged the fingers of my left hand on the hard metal strings. He pressed my fingers down once they were in place, and a pain shot through my hand.

Sebastian and Jared form a punk band and live for the present. Jared’s mother and sister are stuck in the past. Sebastian’s grandmother looks only to the future. They struggle to determine where, and if, they can meet in the middle.

I’m still not sure if this is a young adult book. In the US, I think the fact the main characters are teenagers automatically makes it young adult. The language pushes it firmly into the upper end of high school. If you object to harsh language in teen books, you’d probably consider this a book for adults.

I can’t call it a book for adults because the plot is formulaic. It follows a typical young adult trajectory, but that didn’t diminish my enjoyment of the book. Yes, I knew what was going to happen. Yes, I could predict who was going to say what. This isn’t a book that stole my breath, but it made me laugh out loud. I wasn’t surprised, but the predictability didn’t offend me. The characters might have been one dimensional, but they played their parts well. This book was great for what it was, and while that sounds like a backhanded compliment, it’s the same way I would describe every John Hughes movie ever made. In the end, who doesn’t like John Hughes?

A Daily Deal


A few weeks ago asked me to check out their new feature. I debated doing it because involved online shopping, which I like to avoid as often as possible. When I decide I want something, I want it right then and without the cost of shipping. This is a problem when you don’t live near the “cool” stores and explains why my house falls low on the Blogger Scale of Chevrons and Quirky Home Decor. But, I agreed to do it because I know from reading blogs that daily sales programs are the way to go for items like rugs, mirrors, and other big-ticket home accessories.

Important: I’ve purchased from Wayfair many times and have never had a problem. They’re one of the very few online companies I use aside from Amazon.
More important: I really wanted an outdoor rug.
Most important: they gave me $100 to try it.


The other problem I have with daily sales is that you have to be on top of it to grab the best sales, especially if you live on the West Coast. Those New Yorkers have 3 hours on me! I was not on top of things, which should surprise no one, and missed a few really great deals on outdoor rugs. This annoyed me, so I decided to give up the rug dream and focus my efforts on an area of the site I knew few people would venture: . Check out that link if you’re looking for a stainless steel potting bench.

Success! I bought 6 large hanging planters for our front and back porches. I spent $117. Buying hanging planters has been on my list for a long time, but I wanted 6 larges one at $35-$40 each. I didn’t want to spend $300 (factoring in plants) on something I wasn’t sure I could keep alive in our climate, so I never pulled the trigger. The daily deal (and the $100) made snapping up this deal an easy decision.

Mulberry and succulents

My plan for this post–I was so excited when the planters arrived!–was to share pictures of them filled and hanging pretty against a summer sky. Instead, they’re sitting in their boxes because I’m scared to mess them up. The planters are pretty and of good quality. My brain might explode if I see them filled with dead or dying plants.

This much I know: I’m zone 9 and my front and back porches face west and east respectively. The front porch gets full sun and the back porch is partially shaded morning sun. There is some dappled southern light on both porches. The baskets would hang over a bed, so I’m not worried about water dripping onto the floor or furniture. That should make watering them easier.

And watering them is what worries me. The have coconut liners, so that should help, but it’s still a fact that I live in a dry, hot climate. I’ve heard some people line the base of their hanging baskets with disposable diapers to keep the moisture in!


I think I’m going with fuchsias for the shady back porch with eastern morning sun. They remind me of being a newlywed. I wanted a fuchsia tree for our front porch but we faced west, on a hill of decomposed granite, in a new development devoid of trees. Even I couldn’t convince myself it would work. I need to do some more research on them, but I hear there’s some regular feeding and fussy watering involved.


For the front, I’m considering million bells/petunias. I’ve had luck with them at our old house, and that place was like living on the surface of the sun. I’m also considering hanging succulents because that picture of the succulents hanging from the mulberry tree needs to be replicated with my Chinese elm.

Sigh. Something tells me that I’m going to have to just plant something in there and see what happens before I end up treating hanging baskets with the same guarded optimism I treat online shopping.


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July Book Club Pick: Out of My Mind

July Book Club Pick: Out of My MindOut of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
Published by Simon and Schuster on 2012-05-01
Genres: Family, General, Social Issues, Special Needs, Young Adult
Pages: 320
AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo
If there is one book teens and parents (and everyone else) should read this year, Out of My Mind should be it” (Denver Post).

Melody is not like most people. She cannot walk or talk, but she has a photographic memory; she can remember every detail of everything she has ever experienced. She is smarter than most of the adults who try to diagnose her and smarter than her classmates in her integrated classroom—the very same classmates who dismiss her as mentally challenged, because she cannot tell them otherwise. But Melody refuses to be defined by cerebral palsy. And she’s determined to let everyone know it…somehow. In this breakthrough story—reminiscent of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly—from multiple Coretta Scott King Award-winner Sharon Draper, readers will come to know a brilliant mind and a brave spirit who will change forever how they look at anyone with a disability.


I wanted to remind everyone that the next book club pick is Sharon Draper’s Out of My Mind. I know it’s hard to find the time to read in the summer, but I’m excited to read this book for a few reasons.

  1. A fourth grader recommended it to me last year during the weeks I read Wonder. She says that if you love Wonder (she did) you’ll love Out of My Mind. I always appreciate a book recommendation from a child, so of course I’m going to read it and report back to her.
  2. I’m always looking for books to add to the library, and middle school books are especially challenging. I’ve found that many of the “popular” books assume middle schoolers live for farts and slapstick comedy. And okay, they do love farts and slapstick, but they are also more than willing to tackle tough issues.
  3. We haven’t yet read a book about a child with special needs, especially from the perspective of the child.
  4. If you have or know children between 9-14 years of age, this is a book you can read and pass on or read together. Parent/child bonding time! I’m going to give this book on to Mikey when I’m done. Then, I’m going to read the middle school version of Game of Thrones he loves so much. (Hmmm. Possible book club pick?)
  5. The discussion date for this book is AUGUST 7, 2014. You’ll see a post about the book on that day, and people can share their thoughts in the comment section. Please, please join us! Everyone is welcome, even if you never read the blog. :)

Hi! I’m Jules.

I used to be an attorney, but it made me grumpy. Now I write about life, sweet and savory, as a wife and mother to two small boys. My knowledge of dinosaurs knows no bounds.

You can read more, including the meaning behind the name Pancakes and French Fries here. And, yes, I really am phenomenally indecisive.