LJ and the Caterpillars

LJ and I have been spending a lot of time recently talking about caterpillars. One day a couple of months ago all of a sudden caterpillars started to appear around the house. He was so excited to see these little fuzzy crawly creatures and just couldn’t get enough of them.

LJ showing Grandpa Louie his caterpillar

LJ showing Grandpa Louie his caterpillar

There's a caterpillar crawling on my arm!

There’s a caterpillar crawling on my arm!


I told LJ the story of the life of a caterpillar. First a caterpillar hatches from an egg. Then the caterpillar is VERY hungry so he eats lots of leaf salad.
Caterpillar eating leaf salad

Caterpillar eating leaf salad


Then the caterpillar’s tummy is so full he makes himself a sleeping bag and falls asleep.
A few caterpillar "sleeping bags" that we found on the deck

A few caterpillar “sleeping bags” that we found on the deck


When he wakes up after a long sleep he turns into a butterfly!
We were SO excited when a butterfly came to say hello on the screen door!

We were SO excited when a butterfly came to say hello on the screen door!


I bought LJ The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
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LJ LOVES the part about the caterpillar turning into a butterfly!

LJ LOVES the part about the caterpillar turning into a butterfly!


We made egg carton caterpillars

We made egg carton caterpillars


We ate caterpillar pancakes

We ate caterpillar pancakes


Then it was time to go to the Butterfly House at the Seattle Science Center.
What a BIG caterpillar!

What a BIG caterpillar!


SO many caterpillar "sleeping bags"!

SO many caterpillar “sleeping bags”!


LJ watching the butterflies eating

LJ watching the butterflies eating


There's more butterflies!

There’s more butterflies!


After a wonderful time at the Butterfly House we walked to the fountain to have our lunch and talk about all the wonders of caterpillars!
My sweet LJ having his lunch at the fountain at Seattle Center

My sweet LJ having his lunch at the fountain at Seattle Center

July 27, 2014 at 3:36 pm Leave a comment

Cat Found 500 Miles From Home

Ashley Moore was reunited with her cat Ava, who was found 500 miles from home

Ashley Moore was reunited with her cat Ava, who was found 500 miles from home


Ava, a 2-year-old Tiffany cat, was reunited with her owner, Ashley Moore, in Georgia Saturday. The cat disappeared from Moore’s Brookhaven, Georgia, home last month and was found in Vero Beach, Florida, four days later. The woman who found Ava wandering brought her to the Humane Society of Vero Beach & Indian River County, where the staff discovered her microchip. The phone number listed had been disconnected, but they were able to send a letter to Moore’s father saying Ava was safe and staying at the shelter. Moore thinks Ava may have hidden underneath a vehicle or in a U-Haul moving truck for the trip. When Moore’s plans to have the cat transported 500 miles back home fell through, the shelter’s director of animal care stepped in to help, driving Ava to Georgia to be reunited with her owner. “I guess Ava decided to take a vacation in Vero Beach, but I’m so happy she’s finally back with me,” Moore said.
Story courtesy of VetSTREET

July 14, 2014 at 12:56 am 1 comment

A Fun Outing With The Boy

I just spent a fun morning with my Grandson LJ. It was raining so I decided to take him to an indoor play place. I wanted to take him to a place he hadn’t been before so I chose the Happy Nest in Redmond. It’s a smaller facility but there were only a handful of kids there so it wasn’t crowded at all.
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LJ had so much fun with all the activities.

LJ's favorite thing right now is to play with the trains

LJ’s favorite thing right now is to play with the trains


LJ and a friend taking care of kitchen duties

LJ and a friend taking care of kitchen duties


Who doesn't love the ball pit?

Who doesn’t love the ball pit?


One of the fun things they do at the Happy Nest is to blow bubbles for the kids

One of the fun things they do at the Happy Nest is to blow bubbles for the kids


Having a quiet moment at the book nook

Having a quiet moment at the book nook


Just across the street we found the Flying Apron to have lunch. It has all Vegan and gluten-free dishes. They all looked wonderful. We decided on the pizza and a muffin.
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Yummy pizza at the Flying Apron Cafe

Yummy pizza at the Flying Apron Cafe


LJ was fast asleep before we even got out of town. Fun times!!!
Mission accomplished!

Mission accomplished!

May 26, 2014 at 11:03 pm Leave a comment

Vets Corner: Spring Hazards

Sick dog 02
Spring in most veterinary hospitals is the busiest time of the year for routine care such as annual physicals, vaccines, heartworm and tick disease testing, and picking up heartworm and flea and tick preventatives. What we don’t count on is the sharp increase in emergency cases that occur from the increase in outdoor activities.

male-dog-in-heat-not
Female dogs come into heat twice yearly and nearly all come into season in the spring. Intact male dogs can pick up the scent from miles away and will follow the scent without paying attention. This past weekend I personally saw four dogs that were hit by cars for this very reason. They either got out of their enclosures, or a family member let them out unattended. A pet being hit by a car is one of the most devastating emergencies that we see and in most cases the injuries are severe and many times fatal. The most common cause of death for cats that go outside is being hit by a car. As traumatic as the injury to the pet, it is also traumatic to the family as in most cases the loss could have been prevented. I myself lost a young dog in the street when my son’s friend forgot to close the gate so this is a subject that is near and dear to my heart in more ways than one.

Antifreeze
Another very common hazard as pets are out exploring is exposure to toxins. Antifreeze poisoning is very common this time of the year. Antifreeze, ethylene glycol, is a toxin that is often drained and left in a pan or bucket and forgotten. It has a very sweet taste so both cats and dogs will drink it readily. Only a very small amount can cause complete kidney failure within 48 hours. There is an antidote if discovered very early, but once the symptoms of kidney disease appear it is usually fatal. We take any exposure to antifreeze, no matter how small, very seriously for that reason.

cats fighting
Coyotes and other predators are becoming much more common in towns and suburban communities and if cats and little dogs are left outside unattended they are, unfortunately, considered prey. Many cats get the urge to go outside as the weather improves. They are territorial and will get into fights with other cats leading to very painful abscesses. These bites are the way viruses like feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency are spread. Both of these diseases have no cure, so the only treatment is prevention.
dog running

Exercise for our pets is very important in maintaining good health for life, but it is important to make sure that the type of exercise is safe. A good brisk walk on leash is a great way to do so, but is not possible in all areas of the country year round. Off leash dog parks can be a great way for a dog to run off leash, but it is still important to pay attention that the dogs all get along. Doggy day care businesses are becoming very popular and can be very helpful in the winter to keep the pet socialized and fit. There are great toys and activities to keep your cats active inside the house and websites exist that demonstrate how to create a cat friendly room so that going outside does not become an issue.

Have a happy and safe spring and summer!
By: Dr Landorf, Oakwood Hills Animal Hospital

May 25, 2014 at 6:00 pm Leave a comment

Lisbon, Portugal

Our next and last place to visit on our amazing trip to Portugal was Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal.  We checked into our delightful Santa Justa Hotel in the Baixa district of Lisbon.  We were greeted by a lovely tray of port and pastries.  During my time in Portugal I learned that I love port, especially Cockburns Special Reserve of which I brought a bottle home with me!

Portugal phone 517

Port and pastries awaited us at the Santa Justa Hotel

Port and pastries awaited us at the Santa Justa Hotel

Love that port!

Love that port!

We had just enough time to take a quick peek at the surrounding area where people filled the streets that were closed off from traffic and lined with cafes.  We had a nice dinner and fell into bed.

Street outside the Santa Justa Hotel

Street outside the Santa Justa Hotel

On Saturday we started exploring the city.  Lisbon sits on seven hills and there is no rhyme or reason to the streets.  They meander around buildings in no orderly fashion at all.  I think we walked over every one of the seven hills :-).  Well, at least it felt like it!

Cable car heading up a hill in Lisbon

Cable car heading up a hill in Lisbon

The Cathedral

The Cathedral

Steep, narrow road

Steep, narrow road

Buildings with terraces

Building with terraces

Cable cars are a great form of transportation on this hilly city!

Cable cars are a great form of transportation on this hilly city

Donna checking out a cable car

Crazy streets in Lisbon

Crazy streets in Lisbon

Very close to our hotel is the Praca do Comercio, or Commerce Square.  We decided to take a look around and have lunch there.

Archway into Commerce Square

Archway into Commerce Square

Commerce Square was chock-full of people enjoying the beautiful weather at the cafes and the Tagus River.  It’s square is huge and beautiful with the Statue of King Jose 1 right in the center.

Sidewalk cafes in commerce Square

Sidewalk cafe in commerce Square

Lunch at Commerce Square

Lunch at Commerce Square

Statue and arch of Commerce Square

Statue and arch of Commerce Square

People enjoying the beautiful weather on the banks of the Tagus River

People enjoying the beautiful weather on the banks of the Tagus River

White and red sangrias

White and red sangrias

On Sunday we walked to Rossio Square to catch the subway to the Museum Calouste Gulbenkian.

Fountain in Rossio Square

Fountain in Rossio Square

The museum is a collection of Calouse Gulbenkians, a rich Armenian oil tycoon who left it all to Portugal when he died in 1955.  The collection spans the period from 2700 B. C. Egypt to the early 20th century.  Works by Rembrandt, Renoir and Manet are displayed along with countless other exquisite objects.  Here are just a very few items we saw in this huge eclectic collection.

Egyptian tablet

Egyptian tablet

Terra cotta vase ca. 440 B. C.

Terra cotta vase ca. 440 B. C.

The Apocalypse ca. 1265-70

The Apocalypse ca. 1265-70

Gilded and enameled glass vase.  14th century

Gilded and enameled glass vase. 14th century

Portrait of an Old Man, by Rembrandt, 1645

Portrait of an Old Man, by Rembrandt, 1645

Velvet Chasuble, late 16th century

Velvet Chasuble, late 16th century

Gilded silver tureen and stand, 1769-70

Gilded silver tureen and stand, 1769-70

Diana, 1780

Diana, 1780

Portrait of Madame Claude Monet.  Renoir, 1874

Portrait of Madame Claude Monet. Renoir, 1874

Our last evening in Lisbon we rode the Santa Justa lift to see the sights of the city.  It connects the lower streets of the Baixa district with the higher Largo do Carmo (Carmo Square.)  The hills of Lisbon have always presented a problem for accessibility,especially in a time when people were required to move on foot or being pulled by horse.  So in 1900 construction on the lift began.  Today it’s a landmark and a definite tourist attraction of the city.

Santa Justa lift

Santa Justa lift

Terra cotta roofed buildings of Lisbon

Terra cotta roofed buildings of Lisbon

Donna with the moon rising over Lisbon

Donna with the moon rising over Lisbon

 

Rossio Square

Rossio Square

Me with the Castle of St. Jorge in the distance

Me with the Castle of St. Jorge in the distance

To finish the evening we went to the Restaurante Concha D’Ouro for dinner.  Because it was getting a little chilly, we decided to sit inside.  We sat upstairs overlooking the street below.

Every meal in Portugal starts with a couvert.  Each restaurant serves a different variety of breads, butter, cheese, olives, spreads, etc.  You pay for what you eat.

Every meal in Portugal starts with a couvert. Each restaurant serves a different variety of breads, butter, cheese, olives, spreads, etc. You pay for what you eat.

Octopus!

Donna had the Octopus!

Our last dinner in Lisbon

Our last dinner in Lisbon

The next morning we were on our way to the airport and back to the US.

What a wonderful opportunity it was to get to travel to this great country!!!

May 11, 2014 at 9:41 pm Leave a comment

Sintra, Portugal

Portugal phone 285

After reluctantly leaving the beautiful Algarve area of Portugal we headed north towards Sintra.  We saw many cork trees along the way.  It was so interesting to me to have a close up look at the trees.  The cork is harvested every 9 to 12 years and doesn’t harm the tree.  Only the bark is extracted making it a renewable resource.  Portugal accounts for around 50% of the world cork harvest.

Cork trees along the roads in Portugal

Cork trees along the roads in Portugal

We arrived in Sintra and drove along the timeless back roads towards the Palacio de Seteais.

Typical road in Sintra

Typical narrow, winding road in Sintra

The Hotel Palacio de Seteais is a luxurious and romantic palace (now a hotel and restaurant)which takes us back to the days of the elegance of the 18th century. Located on the mountain side of Sintra, and with its spectacular views, it was an honor to be able to visit this beautiful palace built by the Dutch consul to Portugal.  I love to daydream of those elegant days gone by.

Hotel Palacio de Seteais

Hotel Palacio de Seteais

Beautiful gardens of Hotel Palacio de Seteais

Beautiful gardens of Hotel Palacio de Seteais

One of the many mazes surrounding Palacio de Seteais

One of the many mazes surrounding Palacio de Seteais

A beautiful meeting room at Palacio de Seteais.  Notice the chandeliers and paintings on the walls that continue onto the ceiling

A lovely meeting room at Palacio de Seteais. Notice the chandeliers and paintings on the walls that continue onto the ceiling

Frescos of rare beauty in a sitting room at Palaceo de Setais

Frescos of rare beauty in a sitting room at Palaceo de Seteais

Sintra is a town of marvelous historic mansions, royal retreats, estates, castles, and buildings from the 8th-9th century as well as the 17th to 19th century, all set against the backdrop of lush hills and winding roads.

A small castle we passed along the roads of Sintra

A small castle we passed along the roads of Sintra

The Pena Palace, or Palacio da Pena as it is known in Portugal, is probably one of the most iconic and best-known images of Sintra. Perched high on a hilltop, it can be seen from as far away as Portugal’s capital, Lisbon, on a clear day.  This is a definite must-see if you are visiting Sintra.

A grand view of the Pena Palace atop the hill

A grand sight of the Pena Palace greets you as you come up the hill

The Pena Palace was built during the first half of the 19th century by the Queen of Portugal and definitely has a woman’s touch, with the brightly colored exterior and feminine interior.

Pena Palace

Pena Palace looking up towards the Queens terrace

Entrance to the palace

Entrance to the courtyard of the palace

The Portico of the Triton is one of the entrances to the Court of the arches Moorish.  It symbolizes the creation of the world.

The Portico of the Triton is one of the entrances to the Court of the arches Moorish.

Ballroom

Pena Palace Ballroom

Pena Palace dining room

Pena Palace dining room

Modern bathroom for the Queen in Pena Palace

Modern bathroom for the Queen in Pena Palace

Donna overlooking the courtyard

Donna looking out onto the courtyard

 

The park surrounding the Pena Palace is a natural environment of rare beauty.  The exotic taste of the Romanticism was applied to the park as it was to the palace. Once a barren hillside, trees from diverse, distant lands are now planted here as well as a wide variety of ferns and tree ferns, concentrated in the Queen’s Fern Garden. The park has a complicated system of paths and narrow roads, connecting the palace to the many points of interest throughout the park.

My next post and our last destination in Portugal will be about our time in Lisbon!

May 11, 2014 at 5:37 pm Leave a comment

Seville, Spain

During our stay in Portugal, Donna and I decided to take a day and have a short visit to Seville, Spain.  We left very early in the morning on our tour bus and a beautiful sunrise greeted us as we were on our way.

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Just as we crossed the border into Spain, the bus stopped at a quaint little restaurant.  As I stepped out of the bus I got an overwhelming fragrance of orange blossoms coming from all the orange trees surrounding us.  What a glorious way to start the day!  The little restaurant was so cute, with its tiled walls, and friendly & quick service.

Quaint little restaurant just inside the Spanish border

Quaint little restaurant just inside the border of Spain

Restaurant interior

Restaurant interior

Soon we were back on the road and on our way to Seville.  When we arrived the first place we visited was the Cathedral of Seville.  The construction on the massive structure began in 1402 and is the largest Gothic cathedral and the third-largest church in the world.

The Cathedral of Seville

The Cathedral of Seville

Close-up of the antiquate workmanship on the Cathedral

Close-up of the intricate workmanship on the Cathedral

The Giralda is the bell tower of the Cathedral. Its height is 343 feet.

The Cathedral showing The Giraldo (the bell tower)

The Cathedral showing The Giraldo (the bell tower)

The interior is absolutely magnificent!  We saw the tomb of Christopher Columbus and the Cardinal Cervantes as well as so many other ornate and beautiful things.  Way too much to see in just one short visit.

Tomb of Cardinal Cervantes

Tomb of Cardinal Cervantes

Beautiful stain glass windows throughout the Cathedral

Beautiful stain glass windows throughout the Cathedral

There are several alters within the Cathedral.  The main altar was under renovation but this is one of the beautiful ones we got to see.

Altare dell'Argento (Silver Alter)

Altare dell’Argento (Silver Alter)

The tomb of Christopher Columbus

The tomb of Christopher Columbus

The interior of the Cathedral

The interior of the Cathedral

Just across the square is the Alcazar Palace, the oldest European royal residence.  It’s actually a group of buildings, each with a different architectural design.  This palace was originally built as a fort and the fort walls still surround it.  To this day the royal family uses the palace while they’re in Seville

The wall surrounding the Royal Palace

The wall surrounding the Royal Palace

Beautiful courtyard inside the palace

Beautiful courtyard inside the palace

Beautiful tile work

Impressive tile work

Gorgeous architecture

Gorgeous architecture

We had a short amount of time to sit and have a bite to eat at a lovely sidewalk café alongside a row of orange trees while we watched people from all over the world walk past.  Then back to the front of the Cathedral to take a picture of the Camino de Santiago clamshell marker.  This branch of the trail, the Via de la Plata is the longest of the pilgrim routes in Spain.  My sister Bonnie is planning on walking the trail in a couple of years so she was thrilled that we saw the starting of the trail from Seville.

Clamshell marking the beginning of the Via de la Plata leg of the Santiago Trail.

Clamshell marking the beginning of the Via de la Plata.  

We walked the 1/4 mile of the trail back to the Guadalquiver River and the Torre del Oro, or Golden Tower, the golden tiles on the original roof giving the tower its name.  The tower sits right alongside the river which is lined with orange and palm trees.  An awesome sight and an easy landmark to find your way back to the river.

Torre del Oro, or Golden Tower

Torre del Oro, or Golden Tower

From there we took a one hour boat tour up and down the river.

Houses and cafes along the Guadalquiver River

A cafe along the Guadalquiver River

The Triana bridge One of the many crossing the river

The Triana bridge.  One of the many bridges crossing the river

houses along the river

Houses along the river

After a busy, busy day it was time to get back into our bus and head back to the Algarve.

My next post will be about our stay in Lisbon.

 

 

May 8, 2014 at 10:47 pm Leave a comment

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