Monthly Archives: January 2013

Thursday Homer Update

For those of you playing along at home, this is the State of the Pets at the Taylor Ranch:

1. Bailey, the 13-year-old beagle, has incontinence. This happens while she sleeps, usually once a day.

2. Ron, the 3-year-old cat, recently had a UTI and has crystals in his urine, which makes him want to go everywhere BUT the litter box.

3. Homer, the blind Boston, has pretty much mastered housetraining.

Can you guess which pet is my favorite this week?

Homer continues to make great progress with his eye. When I wave my hand in front of his face, he reacts! We have also learned that Homer knows “sit” and “speak,” so he’s not a total savage. He returns to the eye specialist on Wednesday, and hopefully he will be all done with the eye drops and eye ointments at that time.

Homer’s favorite thing on earth continues to be his stuffed “crab.” Well, maybe “former crab,” as Homer has ripped off its eyes and most of its appendages. It’s like a small stuffed football at this point.

This is what Homer does with it:

Homer and his Crab from Windy Taylor on Vimeo.

He’ll nurse on the crab for HOURS, if we let him. See the pink thing under the crab’s sad smile? That’s Homer’s tongue. When he finally takes a break, he smacks his lips and looks around wildly, as if to say, “WHY IS MY MOUTH SO DRY?”

Homer is also starting to enjoy affection, which is something he did not do when we brought him home. He’ll wedge in next to me in a chair, or sit with me on the couch, or snuggle with Tyler on his bed.

Of course, he usually expresses his contentment by snoring loudly and farting, but whatever. He’s a Boston. It’s what they do.

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WIWW: 1/30/2013

Whoosh! That’s the sound of January, almost gone.

pleated poppy

Wednesday: I originally paired this Loft dress with these fleece-lined tights and a black cardigan, but Jason said it was too much black. So I swapped it out for this ruffled cardigan, also from Loft. Better!


Thursday: I wore the Brooks Brothers Miracle Shirt again, and fell even more in love. That sucker came out of the dryer looking fabulous, and was even more comfortable with the second wear. I want one in every color. Here’s hoping for a massive sale that can make it happen. Paired with pink Target cardigan and black Loft cords.


Friday: Do not adjust your monitor. Those are ORANGE stripes. Top from Loft, khakis by Dockers Metro. I don’t know if Jason intentionally matched his bow tie to my shirt.


Monday I paired black-and-white tweed trousers with a black tank and an open-knit cardigan. The high on Monday was 76.IMG_6841

Tuesday, high of 82 degrees. IN JANUARY. I wore this mustard boatneck from the Banana Republic outlet, a brown tweed skirt from Target, and wedges from Payless. And then I sweated a lot.


I also wore my llama money necklace! And remembered to take a picture of it! (In Peru, their dollar, or Sol, features a llama on one side. I got a Sol and a Half Sol, and put them on one necklace. You can see the llama-legs on the bigger coin.)


Have a lovely week!


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Citrus Vinegar

Several years ago I was converted to the awesome cleaning power of vinegar (usually with its trusty sidekick, baking soda). I’ve used vinegar solutions for years to keep my shower sparkly, my drains clear, and my coffee maker gunk-free.

But, let’s face it: plain white vinegar is not the most pleasant smell in the world. So when I saw this tutorial for Citrus Infused Vinegar, I got very interested (pinterested, even) indeed.


I frequently use fresh lemon juice for cooking, so the next time I needed one, I saved the peels. I threw them in a (used, but clean) spaghetti sauce jar, covered them with vinegar, closed the jar and stuck it in the back of the pantry.


Through the magic of the internet, two weeks passed in the time it took you to read this sentence!

The tutorial didn’t specify how one should strain the mixture, so I used a small mesh strainer and a coffee filter.


The mixture smelled really good! I was pleasantly surprised. I forgot to use the soggy peels as a garbage disposal cleaner, but definitely will next time.

I poured the citrus vinegar into an empty Method bottle, and I was done!


This project was super-easy, took very little time, and (best of all) was totally free. I was already using the lemons for cooking, I buy vinegar by the gallon, and I have a stash of glass jars and empty spray bottles. The tutorial has several recommended uses for the citrus vinegar, in addition to the ones I mentioned above.

I think I’ll start another batch tonight. I can see this disappearing quickly.

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Over MLK weekend Tyler and I drove to New Orleans to meet five of my college friends for a grown-up girls’ weekend.

By “grown-up” I mean there were none of the following: bar crawls, vomiting, leggings-as-pants, Advil-as-breakfast, tomfoolery, or shenanigans. There was PLENTY of wine, walking, laughing, catching up, and eating.

So much eating.

We arrived on Saturday, grabbed a bite, and headed to St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, which is on the north side of the French Quarter. For some reason, I’d never visited it before.


Many of the tombs are not in good shape – the marble facades have come off, leaving vaguely dog-house-shaped piles of brick.


Some are reduced to rubble.


Dinner that night was at my favorite “fancy” New Orleans restaurant, Galatoire’s. It’s a different feel from most other fancy restaurants – it’s loud, and the main dining room is totally open, and if someone has a birthday or anniversary or what-have-you, the waiters alert the diners and EVERYONE sings. The staff is also great with (well-behaved) children.

IMG_6588 2

Sunday morning we enjoyed the jazz breakfast at our hotel. The concierge hilariously described it as, “You know, a regular continental breakfast – pastries, fruit, mimosas…” Have you ever seen mimosas on the buffet at the Holiday Inn? Me neither. There was also a live jazz pianist.

After breakfast we did a free self-guided walking tour of the Garden District, courtesy of Frommer’s. Tyler’s favorite part was the trolley ride.

Which reminds me. I didn’t quite realize how much he’s grown up since the first time he went to New Orleans, in 2008. But look at these trolley pictures:


After another tasty lunch at Ignatius on Magazine Street, we rode the trolley out a little farther to look at Tulane University and Audubon Park.


That night we had dinner at Acme Oyster House. Per tradition, we had pre-dinner drinks while standing in line. Outside. In the street! New Orleans’ open container laws feel delightfully transgressive.

Monday morning a few of us visited the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, which is pretty much Tyler’s favorite thing, ever. I had several more flashbacks to our first NOLA trip. Like this:


And this:


And this:

Fish Tank 2


We especially enjoyed the Parakeet Encounter, where one has the opportunity to be assaulted by small birds.


We met the rest of our group for lunch at Johnny’s Po-Boys, where we feasted on enormous sandwiches. After lunch, we took another self-guided walking tour through the French Quarter. I’ve been to New Orleans over a dozen times, but I learned interesting tidbits about buildings I’d previously walked right by.

The whole city was decorated for Mardi Gras, which began shortly before we arrived and will end right after the Superbowl, which is…..also in New Orleans.



The walking tour ended at Cafe du Monde, where we re-fueled with beignets and discussed dinner options. We decided to try Capdeville in the Central Business District, which was excellent.

And on Tuesday morning, we left!

It was a quick trip, to be sure, but I think we did a good job of filling our days without exhausting ourselves. It was so nice to see old friends and share new experiences with them.

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WIWW: NOLA Edition

Considering that I spent four days in New Orleans, I deserve a gold star for not wearing elastic-waist pants and/or muumuus the entire time.

pleated poppy

Wednesday: This shirt, a Goodwill find, is a little blousy. Adding a belt made me like it 100% more.IMG_6546

Thursday: And here I am, holding a bag of noodles.

As one will.


Gray cords from Loft, white tee from Old Navy, eggplant cardigan from Eddie Bauer.

Friday: This happened. It was inadvertent. I can’t decide if it’s adorable or appalling:


Saturday: Drive to New Orleans, dinner at Galatoire’s.

Day 1 Collage

Sunday: Walk walk walk, dinner and hobo impersonations at Acme Oyster House:

Day 2 Collage

Monday: Aquarium!, more walking, dinner at Capdeville:

IMG_6652 2

Yesterday we drove home, and today I’m back at work!

Have a lovely week.

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Another Homer Update

Homer went back to the eye specialist yesterday for a check-up.Vet

He was MUCH more gentlemanly with the staff, and did not have to be muzzled.

Well done, sir.

The vet said Homer’s eye has improved significantly in the last week. The swelling has gone down, the eye is less cloudy, and – most exciting! – Homer is starting to respond to visual stimuli. By which I mean, when the vet waved a flashlight across Homer’s face, the eye responded. That doesn’t mean he can see, per se, but it’s a good sign.


We’re going to keep him on his current regimen (two eye drops and two eye ointments, four times a day) for the next 2-3 weeks, and the eye specialist will re-check him on February 6. At that point, the vet should be able to visualize Homer’s retina, which he hasn’t been able to do yet.

Keep on healing, Homer!


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WIWW: Slithery Dee

I don’t necessarily MIND living in a mild climate, but I long to layer. And layering just isn’t happening.

pleated poppy

Wednesday (LAST Wednesday), I paired this knit button-down with a dark brown corduroy skirt. And teal wedges, because I’m Southern and like colors.


Thursday: Trouser jeans, neutral cardigan. The necklace has purple beads, and the flats are also purple. Because COLORS.


Friday: Dolman-sleeve sweater, black pants, gray and white pearl necklace.


Saturday! I remembered to take a picture! Jason took me out to breakfast, and then we ran errands. Later we saw “The Hobbit” with Tyler and my friend Caroline.


Sunday: Church.


Monday: Back to work. Camel-and-white cardigan, navy trousers, brown boots.


Have a lovely week!


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My yard is confused.


It’s been 80, or nearly 80, every day for the last two weeks.


So the flowers decided to go ahead and bloom.


Can’t blame them, really.


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Treasure Hunting

At my father’s funeral, one of his friends noted that the only reason he chose to be a wills/trusts/probate attorney was so that he could get a heads-up on the good estate sales. So I guess it’s fate, or DNA at work, that I now find myself trekking to estate sales on a regular basis. I am fortunate that Tyler and Jason enjoy them as much as I do.

I find them fascinating – why did she keep that? why did he collect those? 

If we do buy something at an estate sale, it’s with a sense of respect. I enjoy knowing that an object belonged to someone else, was loved by someone else, and it has come to us for safekeeping. I feel like a steward, rather than an owner, of my furniture.

This weekend we had two major scores at one estate sale we visited.

First, this chair for the family room. Words cannot express how comfortable it is.


Approximately five seconds after this picture was taken, Ron claimed the chair for his own and has not left it since. Good while it lasted, right?

Jason discovered this breakfront, and we decided to adopt it.


It replaces an ugly-but-roomy buffet that did not fit the feel of the room or the space on the wall.

The best part? The top drawer folds down to reveal a desk:


(Crouching Tiger, Hidden Secretary)

Sometimes, you get a bonus from the estate sale gods. Jason found this gem at the back of a drawer:


It’s a “Mini-Nutrition Counter” from Family Circle, and it looks like it was published in the 1970s or 1980s. Apparently people were thinner then, or had hollow bones:


I am 5’7″. According to this pamphlet, I should weigh 126 lbs, and I should be able to maintain that weight eating almost 1900 calories a day.


We’re thrilled with the results of our treasure hunt. The plan is to restore the finish on the breakfront, and the chair may or may not be my first re-upholstering experiment.

Happy hunting!







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Friday Homer Update

Homer visited the eye specialist on Wednesday. Let me tell you something – if you want to see a group of people who love their animals, visit a veterinary specialist’s office. One woman drove all the way from Panama City (2.5 hours) for the specialist to replace her dog’s contact lenses.

Yes, you read that right.

Homer was a little anxious in the waiting room, and got uppity with some of the other dogs. Things took a turn for the worse when we went to the exam room.

When the vet tech walked in, Homer’s status went from “anxious” to “STEP THE F*CK BACK, LADY.” He growled! He barked! He snapped! He was literally a different dog. I don’t know if she was covered in freaked-out-animal-pheremones, or what, but Homer was very upset. She ended up having to recruit another tech to muzzle him for the exam.

Poor Homer. It turns out it’s quite tricky to put a muzzle on a dog with basically no nose.

Homer Muzzle

As soon as she left, he calmed down and almost looked apologetic.

The vet examined him and said his eye is healing nicely. The ulceration on the surface has healed over, but since it went so deep, the underlying layers of his eye are extremely fragile right now. The slightest trauma, even pulling on a neck collar too strongly, could re-rupture the eye – which would mean the end of Homer’s chances at sight.

The vet gave us two options:

Option 1: Continue to medically manage him (no surgery). If his eye continues to heal, and he doesn’t re-injure it, he should regain some sight. However, if he does re-injure the eye, he will likely lose it for good.

Option 2: Perform a conjunctival graft. This would add structural support to the eye, which decreases his chances of re-injuring the eye. However, it adds scar tissue in the eye, so he would have more vision impairment.

For now, the vet added a topical antibiotic and an ointment to his eye regimen, and also mandated this:

Homer Cone 1


His eye must be protected from accidental bumps and injuries of any kind, so he has to wear this when he’s not in his crate. Lucky for us, he doesn’t seem to mind (although this picture seems to say otherwise!).

He hasn’t quite figured out how to eat with the cone, so I let him out of it twice a day for feedings and a little stuffed animal time:


Homer returns to the specialist on Wednesday. If the rescue decides to proceed with the surgery, he’ll have it done then. Otherwise, we’ll keep watching and waiting for his sight to come back. Fingers crossed!

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