For Love of Mikkey


We are head over heels in love with little Mikkey.

Chihuahuas are not supposed to be like this.  He is almost 90% paper trained.  He gets all of his #1’s on the paper and most of the #2’s.  I had read that this breed was notoriously difficult to pottie train.  Not Mikkey.

And he was SO easy to teach not to bite.  He will mouth fingers, but no more biting!

I took him to the vet Tuesday.  He loved everyone and didn’t bark once.  He did pee when the receptionist picked him up, though.  Otherwise it was just wriggly, wagging tail greetings to everyone.  He did let out a shriek when the vet stuck him with a needle, but was friends with her again as soon as she petted him.

The only time he barks is when he is playing with his toys.  He barks, butt high in the air and head low in his play stance.   Ron stomped at him in fun yesterday and Mikkey barked 3 times at him.  Ron has agreed not to play with him that way again.  We don’t want any aggression or fear to develop.


He is a quiet little dog!  And so loving!  He is the world’s most wonderful lap dog — my dream come true doggie.

I still look at Sunny’s photos and love him so dearly.  And I realized that the reason I feel like Mikkey is an extension of Sunny is because it is the same love.

He is too fast to get pictures of him in motion.  He runs like lightning.  There is no way we can beat him to the door — or anything else.  He really is Mikkey Motor!

But when he snuggles, wow.  I feel such love and absolute trust in his warm, furry little body limp in my lap while he naps.  My heart just basks in his love.

We definitely got the right dog!

It’s pretty obvious we aren’t going to be able to fulltime anytime soon.  There are just too many medical tests and stuff.  I did find out that the reason I have gained 25 pounds in 2 years is due to Hashimoto’s thyroid disease (an autoimmune condition), as well as some of my meds making me prone to weight gain.  But the thyroid condition is very common and easily controlled with thyroid hormones.

The weight gain is trickier.  I look at myself in the mirror and hardly recognize myself.  It looks like I have no choice but to go back on an ultra low carb diet.  Those of you that I’ve met in person would be shocked at how I look now.

My doctor mentioned diet pills, but I declined.  Everyone I know who has ever taken them loses weight fast, then it rebounds worse than ever when they go off them.  But at least I’m willing to discuss it now.

But none of that matters when I’m snuggled up with my Mikkey.  :)

Oh, the cataract operation on my left eye is scheduled for September 9.  I’ll be so glad to get that done.  Being able to see perfectly out of one eye and half blind in the other is annoying and causes headaches.



We Got a Cuddler

Mickey on my lap

Mikkey on my lap

Mikkey is the sweetest little cuddler you can imagine.  We are thrilled with our new baby (most of the time).

Mikkey on lapp2He bites.  I read that with a chihuahua you must train them not to bite when they are small or they can be aggressive when they become adults.  I bought him scads of bones and toys of all kinds and thought I was starting to make a little progress tonight, so I told Mikkey, “You are such a good little boy!”  He promptly bit my nose. Hard!

Also, he knew what pee pads were for, even though he only used them for #1.  But we picked up some cheaper ones that don’t contain the attractant scent that lets them know that’s where to go.  So now I have pads all over the floor, and he chooses to avoid them and use a more appealing (to him) open space.  I know I should keep him confined in his pen until he understands that he is to go on the pad.  But we do so love to see him race around.  Sometimes we call him Mikkey Motor.  The flame collar suits him.  :)

So I’ll pick up some of the right pads tomorrow, scrub the floor with OdoBan, and see if we can start over.

His just-cleaned house before all the toys are piled back into it -- and all over the living room floor!

His just-cleaned house before all the toys are piled back into it — and all over the living room floor!

I don’t know how such an incredibly loving, submissive (he rolls over for us to scratch his belly or pick him up) can be so aggressive with the biting.

But I’m watching a lot of chihuahua videos and reading everything I can on how to train them, so I’m sure it will work.  Eventually!

I had the cataract surgery on my right eye and it is truly a miracle.  I discovered I have been seeing the world through an olive-greenish yellow filter.  Colors are stunning now.

I go inThursday to schedule the left eye.


I am having to postpone the eyelid surgery until next spring.  We had so much going on with the two trips to Florida, then there were other tests and procedures to schedule, so it just didn’t work out.

Camping seems like a far off, much longed for mirage at this point.  But I am still hoping we can make it down to Florida in November for the winter.




A New Fur Baby & Blogspot Blogs

Meet Mikkey!

Meet Mikkey!

When little Sunny passed, Ron and I realized we really NEED a dog.  I wanted a Casita-size dog and think the long coat chihuahuas are a perfect compromise between soft, silky fur and not needing visits to a groomer.

We wanted an adult so we wouldn’t have to go through the puppy stage again.  (Note the Band-Aid on Ron’s arm.  I have a few matching ones.  We forgot that little puppies’ teeth and claws are like needles.)

But the only long coat adults I could find were those who were being retired from breeding, and their cost was way out of our range.  So we got a puppy.  :)

We are both smitten with him.  He is so very sweet.  He’s on the submissive side and has been well socialized, so I think he will be a good pet to travel with.

He is charted to weigh 4.75 lbs. full grown.  So, of course, I’ll have to get a puppy purse to show him off in!

It’s odd.  I adored my little Westie Heidi until she died.  I adored my little Sunny.  Instead of taking their place, little Mikkey just seems to be an extension of them.  It’s amazing how much comfort he has brought to Ron and me.

Healthwise, I had a stress test today.  Not anything I want to do again any time soon.  My cataracts are so bad that I have trouble reading — or seeing much of anything.  So I see my doctor Thursday to schedule the surgeries.  I am so looking forward to seeing well again!

Now to all of you who have Blogspot blogs…  I have tried and tried to comment on your blogs.  For a while, everything was working well.  But now, the “I am not a robot” field flashes for a split second, and despite many, many tries, I can’t click fast enough before the field disappears.

On others, after I type my comment a gray bar appears.  Clicking on the gray bar does nothing so the comment won’t publish.

I seriously wonder if Google is doing that on purpose to influence people to get Google blogs, since my WordPress credentials will not work on them anymore.

I really hope Blogspot fixes that soon.  Because it really irks me that I can’t use my WordPress login like I used to be able to.

Anyway, do know that I still read and enjoy your blogs!

RIP Little Sunny & Updates

Best Camping Buddy ever

Best little camping buddy ever.

Little Sunny’s camping days are over.  Besides going blind and deaf, his hip sockets would give and often his legs would go straight out to the sides when he bent down to eat, drink… or sometimes for no apparent reason.  And he completely forgot his potty training.

My little ragamuffin buddy coming out of his sweater at White Tail Ridge.

My little ragamuffin buddy coming out of his sweater at White Tail Ridge.

But it was the dementia that finally defeated him.  At the last, he would wander around, bewildered, in circles.  He would get lost in a room and not know how to get out.  He would stand in corners, apparently waiting for a door to open.  He even became unable to find his food bowl, and I would have to put him in front of his food and water bowls to make sure he ate and drank.

Sunny waiting for Mom at Cotton Hill COE

Sunny waiting for Mom at Cotton Hill COE

He still loved his Mom, but his life just got too hard for him.  So we had him put down last week.  Sunny loved having his neck rubbed more than anything, so I was doing that when the vet gave him the shot.

Although I miss the little guy more than I can say, I am so relieved that his life is no longer a bewildering maze of the unknown.

June was a tough month.  My favorite aunt died, so we went down to Florida to the funeral.  We stayed and visited family several days, got back home, and got a call that my uncle had died, too.  So we went back and attended his funeral 2 weeks to the day after my aunt’s.

Sunny at the Casita window at Ft. Pickens

Sunny at the Casita window at Ft. Pickens

But it was so precious to get to see our cousins that we hadn’t seen for many, many years.  It felt like getting a new crop of sisters.  :)

I had a couple of major emphysema flareups, but I’m doing great now — except for the weight that my meds keep packing onto me. Two of my sisters are laughing at my concern.  Their advice — I’m old now.  Eat strawberry cheesecake and don’t worry about it.  :D

Sunny camping in the Aliner before we got the Casita.

Sunny camping in the Aliner before we got the Casita.

Ron and I have started going through our things and sorting them into trash, donate, sell and keep piles.

We plan to camp this winter in Florida, and hopefully sell our place sometime soon.  We’d like to fulltime for a while.

But eventually we want to move near my sisters — if this place sells, of course.  If not, we’ll still spend our winters in Florida.

Being able to spend time with my family is more important to me than great adventure out West.  So we’ll probably stick pretty close to the Southeast.

I have felt pretty “blogged out”  lately.  Hope that changes when we get back on the road again.  :)

News from Sheba!

Sheba's new owner sent me this picture taken today.  Look at her face!  I am teary with joy at what a perfect home she has now!

Sheba’s new owner sent me this picture taken today. Look at her face! I am teary with joy at what a perfect home she has now!

Adventure in the Woods

Pink Ladyslippers

Pink Ladyslippers

I was outside when the sun was too high, so I hope you enjoy the subjects of the photos. The pictures themselves aren’t great.

This was the first ladyslipper I found.

This was the first ladyslipper I found.

I suppose first I’ll tell you the adventure part, as the photos are pretty self-explanatory. I set out toward the back of our property, heading toward the area that is the best mushroom habitat around, by a little steep-banked creek. I never made it that far. There were many blowdowns, thick underbrush, hills and a steep ravine. I didn’t make it back that far, either!

Another double ladyslipper.  In this shot you can see a little of the flower's interior.

Another double ladyslipper. In this shot you can see a little of the flower’s interior.

I did make it a few hundred steeply sloped feet. I found several varieties of LBM’s (little brown mushrooms) that the experts have difficulty identifying. I also found a couple of medium tan-colored mushrooms that I intended to try to identify when I got back to the house. And several tiny orange mushrooms that looked a little chanterellish, but it’s way too early for them. They went in my bag to identify, too.

(But — pink ladyslippers are blooming! They were my consolation prize.)

Anyway, I got very tired and out of breath, so decided I’d better head (uphill) home. I climbed one little ridge, and that was it. I sat down on a thick cushion of forest duff and hyperventilated for a while.

Yu can see how soft and downy the young bull thistle flower stalks are at this stage.  (Pardon the dirty fingernails... it happens when I grub around outside!  :)

You can see how soft and downy the young bull thistle flower stalks are at this stage. (Pardon the dirty fingernails… it happens when I grub around outside! :)

I was going to stay there until I recuperated, but then I heard some of the dogs that run free around here sounding like they were fighting. That REALLY scared me, so I bushwacked over blowdowns, greenbrier, blackberry bushes, sapling trees… until I couldn’t go any farther.

This time I found a nice log to sit on. I beat on it with my hiking pole and prodded around to make sure there were no nasty critters under it, sat down, and the log cracked and sent me tumbling.

The bull thistle flower stalks after scraping.

The bull thistle flower stalks after scraping.

So I phoned Ron and told him where I was and asked him to bring me my inhaler. After using that, I felt better. And after resting a while, we made it home.

Exhausted, I threw the mushrooms I had planned to identify in the trash, too tired to mess with them, and crashed for a long nap.

So, apparently the COPD is getting worse… which means stick to easy trails and always carry my inhaler.

Before I headed into the woods I saw a couple of bull thistles with flower stalks and unopened flowers. At this stage the prickly flower stalks are downy and can be easily held with bare fingers.

Wild strawberries are blooming.

Wild strawberries are blooming.

I had them in my mushroom basket, so did put them into the refrigerator before I crashed.

When I got up, it was an easy job to scrape the down off the flower stalks and pop them in the pan with my chicken stew. At this young stage they have a very mild celery flavor, and they didn’t add anything to the dish I was cooking except fun.

When the stalks get older, they get prickly and hollow. I hold them with a pair of needle-nose pliers and peel off the prickles with a pocket knife. They have an intense celery flavor and are much better for cooking.  They get tough at that stage though, so need to be sliced thinly then.

So today was a good news-bad news day.

Tasteless, invasive Indian strawberries are crowding out the sweet wild strawberries.

Tasteless, invasive Indian strawberries are crowding out the sweet wild strawberries.

Oh, I almost forgot! I saw the plastic surgeon this morning who will be tightening up my droopy eyelids which is supposed to improve my vision significantly. I hope it does. But I’m secretly thrilled that my eyes will look better, too!

Little orange mushrooms

Little orange mushrooms

For Budding Mycophiles

Weather only a mushroom lover could love

Weather only a mushroom lover could love

(Click the photos to see a larger image of the Myco Pro app that you can read.)

The very best mushroom ID app

The very best mushroom ID app

The weather hasn’t permitted foraging in the woods, and our handyman hasn’t shown up yet. So I’ve been entertaining myself immersed in my favorite mushroom app. So far I’ve been able to get up to 256 points on the quiz before losing the 3 lives the app allows. It seems rather unfair because sometimes when you correctly identify a lethal mushroom, you get

From the Myco Pro library

From the Myco Pro library

a point for correct identification, but sometimes lose a life anyway! However, it is a reminder that if you aren’t very careful foraging mushrooms you could die — just like that! On the positive side, the quiz repeats mushrooms you have correctly identified as well as the ones you misidentified. The repetition really helps fix the mushroom in your mind.

You can also save photos and GPS locations where you’ve found mushrooms so you can find them again.

Each mushroom description has photos that you can click on to see beautiful, zoomable high resolution images.

Each mushroom description has photos that you can click on to see beautiful, zoomable high resolution images.

Can you tell I am crazy about the Myco Pro app? I have downloaded or bought every mushroom app available on Amazon and Google’s play store — and I have uninstalled all but 3. But Myco Pro is far and away the very best! If you want to use the app to full advantage, you really need to know the main characteristics of the most common genera. For that there is no better book to introduce beginners (and intermediates) to the

One of (usually 3) photos for each mushroom.

One of (usually 3) photos for each mushroom.

safest and tastiest mushrooms than David Fischer and Alan Bessette’s book, Edible Wild Mushrooms of North America. Get the book — not the e-book. The e-book is riddled with typos and has tiny, low resolution images. The hard copy is truly superb. It’s

Another view of the same mushroom

Another view of the same mushroom

impossible to poison yourself if you follow the excellent key points for identification that precedes each mushroom description.  Most importantly, it shows you how to take a spore print, which is a critical first step in identifying mushrooms.

A third photo of the same mushroom.

A third photo of the same mushroom.

Totally off-topic, I am doing this post on my phone because the touchpad on my new netbook died. :(

Anyway, after all this rain, I’m heading to the woods hoping to find lots of mushrooms to photograph  — and hopefully some that are good to eat!

Obligatory disclaimer: I get no financial or any other kind of consideration for these endorsements, although, admittedly, I sound like a commercial!  :D

It even lets you know what taste and texture to expect when you cook the mushroom.

It even lets you know what taste and texture to expect when you cook the mushroom.

Leisurely Progress

Vegan hopping john

Vegan hopping john and brown rice

The first order of business when we got back home was to catch up on medical appointments. My doctor informed me that my cholesterol was sky high. Since my body has zero tolerance for statins or livilo, that means my only options are diet, supplements and exercise.

So, I am planning three vegan days per week, and cutting back on meat and cheese the other 4 days.

Fortunately, Ron loves my vegan meals as long as I promise him a steak and a pork chop once a week. So tonight we had hopping john and brown rice. Ron went back for seconds, which assured me he wasn’t feeling deprived with the meatless meal. :)

I also found a highly recommended handyman who charges very reasonable prices to do the projects on the house that I can’t do. Needless to say, he is backed up, but should be here next week to put in the new back door and give me an estimate on the utility closet. So we are slowly on our way to getting the place ready to put on the market.

Ron is having cataract surgery Wednesday. The following Thursday I go in for a preop consultation about eyelid surgery. My drooping eyelids interfere with my vision enough that Medicare will pay to have that fixed. Then Ron will go in for the other cataract surgery, then this fall it will be my turn.

At least we should have all that done in time to head to Florida again next winter.

Between repair jobs this summer, we plan to schedule week-long getaways whenever we can work them in.

lbmWe have had tons of rain, so I know the mushrooms are going crazy out in the woods. I haven’t made time to check them out, so maybe I can squeeze a mushroom hunting expedition in tomorrow.

I did find a LBM (little brown mushroom) in one of the campgrounds we were in. I’m not sure which one. I didn’t try to identify it because it’s a tedious process for me and I didn’t have the inclination to spend that much time on it. At first I thought it was a deadly gallerina, but the gills are wrong for that. Anyway, it is definitely not one I was tempted to eat!

We have found the solution for Sunny’s incontinence problems.  It’s a belly band with a sanitary napkin inside.  It’s not very glamorous, but it works.  I thought he would hate wearing one, but he is so used to me putting sweaters and jackets on him that this is just another thing that Mom makes him wear.  :)

We’re Home

We just got home a couple of hours ago.

Thankfully there was no sign of mice, no broken pipes, and nothing missing. It looked like we had just been gone a few days.

And the projects look a lot less daunting than I had built them up in my mind.

Sunny is ecstatic to be home.

Ron has gone to buy new batteries for the smoke detectors with instructions to bring home taco salads.

And we are so excited about our new goals of fulltiming and eventually buying a small home base in Florida.

Life is still good. :)

Home Tomorrow

Commitment and persistence.

Commitment and persistence.

I am trying to face going home tomorrow “with the grace of a woman, and not the grief of a child.”

Once we leave here tomorrow morning, we will be plunged into a maelstrom of tasks, chores, medical appointments, etc. and probably won’t even have time to think for a few days.

Then the real work starts.

I had planned to redo the bathrooms a year or so ago. My normal procedure is to research how to do projects, watch Youtube videos to learn techniques, then plunge in over my head and eventually end up with a decent job done.

That doesn’t work anymore. I learned I simply don’t have the physical strength to do carpentry and remodeling anymore.

So those projects remain undone. And if we are to sell the place, the kitchen counters also need to be redone.

So my job for the foreseeable future will be scheduling handymen to do the work as I can afford each project. I can’t afford to hire professionals. Hopefully I can find some gifted, reliable handymen.

But back to dreams of fulltiming…

Tinycamper laundry.  :)

Tinycamper laundry. :)

It has been rainy here, but yesterday we got a break in the weather long enough to do a little laundry with my Wonder Wash and spin dryer.

That was pure fun to me… and the wash smelled so fresh after drying in the sun and breeze.

But the real world calls, and we will answer tomorrow.


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