Friday, May 27, 2011


Grampa is my husband's father, Walter Sr.  He was born in Poland and came to Canada after World War II.  "Walter" is an anglicized version of the grand old Polish name "Wladyslaw" (which my husband also shares). 

Grampa is a WWII veteran and fought at the battle of Montecasino in Italy.  He tends to remember his early days with more clarity, as he now has Alzheimer's.  Grampa currently lives in a luxury retirement home near us.  He thinks it's a hotel.

Dante and Grampa have a very special bond, though.  Grampa lights up every time he sees Dante, and Dante offers him kisses and a pawshake at will.  Dante knows who "Grampa" is, by name, and although Grampa forgets Dante's name, he doesn't forget Dante.

Here is Grampa eating his birthday dinner.  He had homemade zucchini-oregano soup, followed by prime rib roast beef and all the fixings.  Dante joined us on one of the sidechairs and sampled some of the sour cream from a spoon.

After dinner, we retired to the living room to await Grampa's birthday cake.

Here's Dante and Grampa having one of their famous "pawshakes".  In this case, I guess it should actually be called a "Grampawshake"!

And then, the birthday cake arrived!  Just look at that smile on Grampa's face!  He is 88 years old and still ticking, despite the Alzheimer's and prostate cancer (which he has had for many years and chose not to treat).

Grampa was so proud that he blew out both "8's" at the same time!

After the cake, it was time for a little chin scratch!

Happeh, Happeh Birfday, Grampa!  I luvs yoo!

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Dante is lying on the patio in the back yard, surrounded by white petals from the apple blossoms.

They are scattered virtually everywhere in this part of the yard.

"Poor cwabappull twee", says Dante sympathetically.  "Last week yoo wuz absolootly gloryus an' dis week yoo is jus' ordinary."

"So, I giffs yoo a hug to let yoo noes dat I luvs yoo anyways!  Wemembah, dere's always next yeer."

Even though the sweet fragrance of the apple blossoms died on the wind that carried them away, Dante detects a stronger, more heavenly scent on the other side of the yard.

The lilacs are blooming! 

This is a common lilac bush with lavender blooms.  It can grow to 10 feet or more, and it's best to keep it trimmed (yeah, right!).

Here is another variety called a French Lilac, which can grow 10 to 15 feet tall.  It's blooms are a much more vibrant purple.

This is a picture of the northeast corner of the yard.  There are forget-me-nots growing under the maple bush.  Dante is hoping they will spread around the entire garden base as ground cover.

"Well, if dey kin doos it, so kin I", declares Dante.  "I kin LIE LIKE a LILAC any day of the week, but unfortunately I just doan smell as good."

Right after Mommy took these pictures, Daddy finally mowed the back yard.  He still needs to do whipPURR snipping on the patio and elsewhere, but we're worried he just might cut the cord instead! 

I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens next time ...

Monday, May 23, 2011


Dante is lounging in the patio chair getting some well-deserved R&R.

He is doing one of his best COONtortions!

Even one of the big lawn chairs isn't large enough to contain all of that floof if he's not curled up!

(Biggify for the Awe factor)

Just call me "Rumpled Furryskin", says Dante.  That's me!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Another week has come and gone so quickly. This week we are in the back yard where there have been some pretty miraculous changes. There has been lots and lots of rain, so most everything is pretty lush.

"Dere has bin sum good changes an' sum bad wuns", says Dante.

"Daddy finally stawted to trim da willow bushes dat had grown outta contwol!"

"But aftah he got finished, it looks like most of da bush is deaded. I am purrin' verreh hard fur it to survive."

"Dere is a verreh funneh story abowt dis, but I'm gonna let Mommy tell yoo cuz she wonts to."

Mommy here! Daddy took just about forever to trim that one bush. You see the first time he got started, he was using an electric hedgetrimmer with a long cord, and after only a few minutes it stopped working! I couldn't help but laugh as I saw the cut cord dangling and Daddy was totally clueless until I told him.

So, Daddy went out to buy a new and even longer electric cord, but was too tired to do any more trimming after that.

The next time, Daddy made an attempt to trim the bush, he used a long, manual snipper like in the picture above. He said the branches were too thick for the electric trimmer. And wouldn't you know it, the cord that you pull to manipulate the snipper snapped off, and Daddy couldn't reattach it!

Many moons later, I begged Daddy to finish trimming the willow bush, so he got out the brand new electric cord -- this one was even longer -- and began his assigned task. A couple of minutes into it, the trimmer seemed to jam. Daddy was getting very exasPURRated.

Would you believe it? He cut the cord AGAIN!

It took over one month, two snipped electric cords and a busted manual trimmer, but Daddy finally completed his task -- only to realize that the bush was mostly dead!

Methinks there are other, subconscious forces at work here because Daddy doesn't like to do gardening work. What do you think?  I think we're going to hire someone next time -- it would be a whole lot cheaper!

And now, back to Dante ...

"I did a liddle moar furtilizin' cuz dat's wun of mai main doodies!", says Dante.

"An' it's workin', too! Last time I furtilized heer, it wuz bare, and now dere's sum bootifull, gween gwound covah gwowin'."

"See how lush it is behine me?"

"Dere's bin udder stuff goin' on arownd heer, too!", exclaims Dante.

"An' its name is SOX! Wenefur I'm outside, he's alwais wachin' me fru da scween door."

"Yoo see, he is mai nephew -- Mommy's sonbean's kitty. Sox an' his sisfur Missy has bin stayin' wif us fur ovah a week now becuz Ryan is gettin' renovashuns dun at his howse."

"Sox is a good kid, but he's not supposta go outside. He has alreddy escaped two times into da back gawden."

"Da furst time he chased mai furiend Furnando up a twee befor we cot him, and da secund time Mommy hadta go runnin' arownd in da rain aftah him, but she cotted his tail and hauled him back inside!"

This is what Sox looks like when he's not looking through the screen door. Isn't he a cutie?

"Anyways -- back to moar impawtant fings -- like da gawdin!", says Dante.

This is the crabapple tree earlier this week. The blossoms were just starting to open.

This is the crabapple tree today. The blossoms are fully open.

"Yoo mite even say dey's at dere PEEK", says Dante. "An' yoo bettah peek now cuz dey wont last long! Isn't dey bootifull?"

That's all until next time ...

Thursday, May 12, 2011


Well, it's Thursday and Dante's in the front yard ready to report.

"Do yoo remembah last week wen I said our nayburrs was digging up dere gardin?  Well, heer's wot it looks like now!"

"Dey digged up dere driveway, too, and dey's redoin' da whole fing!"

"An' back heer at home, mama's startin' ta plant her pots.  See da pritty purpull flowahs?"

"Mama got dis big pot o' flowahs fur Mudder's Day frum mai brotherbean, Ryan.  He hung it up fur her cuz she's too short to reech."

"Dis is our enclosed gardin.  I calls it "Bush Gardin" cuz it has 3 bushes -- a spyrea (dat is good fur spying fru), an' 2 weigelas -- wun dat gets pink flowahs an' de udder wun gets red flowahs."

"Bush Gardin is a wunnerful B&B ware you kin go fur sum R&R.  As yoo kin see, it has a big comfy bed dat I is lyin' on."

"Yoo kin be in da sun an' da shade at da same time!"

"It's also a great spot fur bathin'!" 

"Dat's why we calls it a B&B -- fur Bed an' Bath."

"Bush Gardins is also a verreh secure locashun.  Yoo kin spy fru da spyreas to detect pawsible frets -- an' heer cums wun now!"

"Halt tresPUSSer!  Dis is PURRivate proPURRty!"

Dante gives chase, but is limited by the length of his leash.

Nonetheless, he has been effective in vanquishing the introoder.  Just another job that feline gardeners must PURRform to keep their gardens free of pests.

Dante returns to his station in Bush Garden -- ever on alert.  "Dere's only wun fing dat dis B&B duzn't has", says Dante.

"Dey doan serve brekfist!  Dey expects yoo to catch it yoorself!"

Well at least they put out a buffet for the breakfast birdie to fatten him up.  Now it's up to Dante to do the rest.  See you next week in the garden.