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Drop the Scorecard

Welcome to January, one of the longest and certainly the coldest month of the year.

During these long days of January chores can become burdens. How often are we adding “scorecards” to our marriages, work relationships, and friendships?

In our home, we all like to walk the dogs on the beautiful sunny days, but when the wind is whipping, the temperatures drop and the days are grey we start up with the “scorecard.” I have been know to exclaim to anyone who wants to listen “It’s your turn to walk them, I walked them twice already today”.

 

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Who wants to walk the dogs when it’s cold out? If you have the ability, be the one!

 

Sincerely, Trish…Because folks, what else matters but love? Listen here.

Poor me. Recently, I heard my friend say..”this is it, I’ve had it with entertaining. I have hosted this person several times and she has never reciprocated. That’s it.” Keeping score. Yikes, made me think, who has invited me places that I have not reciprocated?

Folks, keeping score is petty. There is no such thing as 50/50.  Keeping score holds us back. Keeping score pits person against person. Be on the same team. Be the person who does more and that is your greatest reward. When you invest in your relationships, you invest in love. What else matters? Who cares who empties the dishwasher and hangs up the coats? If you have the ability, do it. You win by giving. Love is an investment. There is nothing out there more important than love.

 

Sincerely,

Trish

 

3 Observations for the Holidays

     One thing I really enjoy about not only going away, but also coming back from vacations, is gaining a new perspective. You tend to come home with a new appreciation for all that you have and what you are interested in changing in your life. From the moment you fly above the clouds, or hit the roads, you are not in your normal surroundings and that leads to a brain stimulation. Now that we are home, and it is early December, my mind is opened and I have made these 3 observations:

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Flying above the clouds & you see the grand creation of this earth you wonder why trivial things get to you.

1. Fuss.  We all want to leave a wonderful example. How often have a heard someone say…”I normally don’t bother with lights or a big tree but my grandson is visiting this year!” or “my daughter is introducing us to her out of town boyfriend so we decided to splurge and have tenderloin for dinner this year.” All of this “stepping up” seems so encouraging to me. It means we are trying more because we care that much more. How easy is it to throw in the towel and not fuss or prepare our house because of the effort involved? Hey, it’s Christmas, the day the Savior the World is born….let’s keep on fussing, we have all of Advent as a time of preparation!!

2. Holiday Lights. There is no questions that the days are short, grey and dreary. Just when you didn’t want to go outside past 4 pm anymore, Presto! Christmas lights! What a beautiful sight. From twinkling icicles, to illuminating wreaths, the effort people put into decorating the exterior of their house does not go unnoticed. I know it’s dark too early but because of these lights on the inside out outside of homes it is so joyful to see the beautiful lights. I made sure I already drove my mom around to enjoy the beauty of various neighborhoods. You cannot help but think “be the light, lights are happy, lights brighten the world you up. Light always conquers darkness”. And always compliment someone who decorated, they put in an effort to make this season more beautiful and bright, they deserve a compliment! Sing it loud..”This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine!”

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Hang up decorations, decorate the dogs, spread cheer…and compliment those who make the effort.

3. Greens, greens and more greens. Green is becoming my favorite color, full of renewal and life. The evergreen tree is a little reminder to “be green” and be true to the Earth. The Evergreen maintains all of its leaves and needles throughout the year. Contrasting with all other trees which cycle through the seasons gaining and shedding leaves in their own beauty. Evergreens are full of stability, strength, and a symbol for the Christmas spirit. Representing our faith as unwavering, especially to prepare for the birth of Jesus.  The natural aroma of pine will immediately uplift you, make you take an extra deep breath, and enjoy the season we are lucky enough to share.

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Fuss for your family and friends. It’s Christmas!

 

 

 

 

 

My Top 5 Memories of the Summer of 2016

One question I do not want to ask is “Where did the summer go?” I realized that when I was working and did not plan anything special. Summer would fly by and before you know it you would run right into Fall without feeling refreshed. Summer was always a special season for me as a child and thankfully one for Natalie and our other children Evan and Caroline. We formed new friends, new memories, new talents, went new places, but mostly enjoyed our favorite sport…swimming. Nothing better in my book than an outdoor pool.

The summer of 2016 was too hot. We simply had too many humid days. It was too dry. It was tough on farmers and even keeping our flower pots watered. But, like everything, we have a choice to complain or make the best of it. With the lack of rain, the lawn did not need mowing for 6 weeks! This was the summer that we had central air conditioning installed which was an exceptionally wise move.

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The Hotel Hershey was a real escape and treat.

There are certain things about summer that are tried and true. I know that swimming outdoors is a must do. The Farmers Market, the Canadian beaches right across the boarder, and the inspiration of other peoples gardens are guaranteed to-do’s.  This summer, Caroline and I had a glorious stay at the Hotel Hershey and so enjoyed the gardens, museum and pool. Hershey was a place I visited with Natalie, at her urging, and it is beyond a cherished memory.

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I like to look at other people’s yards and get ideas for flowers and pots each summer. This one belongs to my friends Mary Louise. Love the elephant pot.

I think it’s important to reflect back and celebrate the season that we have just completed before we move onto the next. I choose to make this summer memorable. I choose to not let it go by and regret that I did nothing special. It can be as simple as making strawberry jam.

Here is a list of what made the summer of 2016 special to me

  1. Birthday Dinner. This year for the first time, I gathered together 3 girlfriends who share June birthdays. We had a memorable night in beautiful Lewiston, NY and the laughs we shared and our shared attempt to be brave in a life that has thrown us all deep pains is a tradition I want to continue next June. The thing is, even if you only have a yearly dinner with friends, the year goes by and it’s something to look forward to and it’s better than ever taking the time to be together.

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    A group of friends who share birthdays in June.

  2. New Places. My last entry showed you that we explored Montreal, Quebec City and we also visited the Thousand Islands. Seeing new places and experience different cultures helps us gain new perspective plus it deepens family bonds.

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    For the first time, we visited the 1,000 Islands. I had no ides we shared these beautiful islands on the St. Lawrence River with Canada. Here I thought they were all in NY State. Traveling expands our awareness.

  3. Babysitting Clover. Caroline watched a cockapoo for a month and allowing another dog into our home for a month added simple joy. The joy of watching an adorable dog lie on her back for a scratch, jump on your lap for some extra coddling, whip a squeaky toy around the house and simply making friends with your dogs and having a new dog join you on your walk…was a highlight of our July. Dogs are so simple, so childlike, and such reminders of the simple joys available to us all on a daily basis if we just pause to realize it.

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    Here she is far right, our new friend that joined us for a month …Clover. Dogs are a perfect reminder of the simple things in life are the best…cuddling, playing and walking.

  4. Olympics. I’m not sure if anyone watched and tweeted out the stories about the unraveling stories and thrilling performances by the athletes all over the world as much as I did!  I mean, c’mon…what is better than watching the highest level of athleticism, learning about the host city, meeting the athletes unclose and personal, and seeing the human spirit just gets me every time. Thank you to Katie Ledecky, Michael Phelps. Simone Biles, and Usain Bolt. The 100 meter freestyle when Simone Manuel and Penny Oleksiak tied, and watching Kerri Walsh Jenning and April Ross win the bronze like it was a gold will stay in my memory bank.

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    I’m a big fan of the synchro swimmers, here is Anita Alvarez from Kenmore, NY !! and Mariya Koroleva.

  5. Blueberry Pie. Using fresh blueberries, and making a simple pie served warm with vanilla ice cream with your family…ummm baby….that’s good stuff. It’s the pie Natalie always made for us. I am simply continuing her tradition as best I can.IMG_6071

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    Natalie always would prepare homemade meals and treats for her family and friends. I push myself to make and do more for others in honor of her beautiful example.

    Summer doesn’t have to be the only season to make memorable. Let’s set some goals for the Fall now. I think the peach festival is the first on my list. Thank you for reading.

     Sincerely, Trish

#todayonmywalk

     Let’s face it, if I wasn’t a dog owner I certainly would not take a daily walk or two. I would attempt. But it would not be daily occurrence especially in the rain, snow and sleet. Even on beautiful sunny days, something always comes up. You know, you always have to go somewhere.

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My inspiration for the name of my blog and my appreciation to slow down and sniff on daily walks. Meet Rory and Lucy Marie. My favorite walking or strolling companions. We stop and smell the roses and take pictures. #todayonmywalk

 

     But, inspired by my dogs, this summer I decided to take a picture with my cell phone camera and post it on Instragram with the hash-tag #todayonmywalk.  It’s a fresh look and the same walk I have been walking for years.  It’s the ability to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us daily. The simple joys. Our two dogs enjoy stopping and sniffing and using all their senses on walks. As soon as I pick up the leashes near the front door of the house, the “ladies” start circling around in utter joy over a chance to walk the neighborhood. When we go for a walk, they act like they won a million dollars. But, we do something worth far more than that…we walk, breath, and appreciate the beauty we see everyday. This is Buffalo in the summer. I am going to keep this up for all the seasons.

 I do not take for granted the incredible happiness just having the ability to go for a walk with my favorite walking companions – Rory and Lucy Marie give me.

Now let’s look at some of the pictures that made it on #todayonmywalk

And follow me on Instagram at poodlewalker1. Thank you for reading.

 

 

This line-up of geraniums in large pots can be found outside a store on Elmwood Avenue. #todayonmywalk

This line-up of geraniums in large pots can be found outside a store on Elmwood Avenue. #todayonmywalk

A flower filled coffee table on the porch of a friends back yard. #todayonmywalk

A flower filled coffee table on the porch of a friends back yard. #todayonmywalk

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This bucket surrounded by little rocks really caught my eye. The whimsey flowers add to the “old fashioned” homey feel. #todayonmywalk

 

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I spotted this on the Buffalo Garden walk. I truly think it’s the prettiest window box I have ever seen. #todayonmywalk

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This house caught my eye because the house number is written out in cursive writing. Love it. #todayonmywalk

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Here you go, this is what you do with the unattractive tree stump on your lawn. Fill it with flowers. It stopped me in my tracks. #todayonmywalk

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Curb appeal. The double wreaths. The matching pots. The dog statue. The high ornate windows. Stop and stare. #todayonmywalk.

 

 

Looking For A Chocolate Poodle?

Get off the Silver Creek exit and treat yourself to the uniqueness of Valvo's Candy and Cement.

Get off the Silver Creek exit and treat yourself to the uniqueness of Valvo’s Candy and Cement.

When you live in Buffalo and want chocolate, you think of the big 3 candy makers. Watson, Fowlers and Parkside. You can’t go wrong. After all, they all excel in packaging, store locations and quality. Great chocolate! But, humm, I was not able to find a chocolate poodle for my Easter basket until I drove to Silver Creek and looked for the large female “Big Boy”  larger than life statuette. (That’s the best way I can think of to describe it)

There she was on Routes 5 and 20 and 5 and dime is what this store reminds me of exactly. You want a cement figure of an alligator? You got it. You want a solid chocolate ballerina? You got it. Valvo’s is best described in pictures. Reminiscent of the past, the candy is jammed all over the store and you can’t help but be enamored by it all. Huge chocolate rabbits. I must say, the chickens looked the most appealing sitting in their baskets. I simply can’t describe it all; it’s best just to have the pictures tell the story. I did find it peculiar to find a Blessed Mother chocolate statue. Would you want to bite her head off? No way. It might be the first piece of chocolate I would not be able to eat. Visit Valvo’s. It’s one crazy place.

Folks, how about a chocolate Blessed Mother? Horse? Poodle or Chicken? Would you call it unique or odd?

Folks, how about a chocolate Blessed Mother? Horse? Poodle or Chicken? Would you call it unique or odd?

 

Finally, I the poodle walker have found a chocolate poodle for my Easter basket.

Finally, I the poodle walker have found a chocolate poodle for my Easter basket.

I simply cannot describe how peculiar yet folksy this store is without pictures.

I simply cannot describe how peculiar yet folksy this store is without pictures.

The chickens were the most appealing. They are sitting in baskets like they would in a hen house.

The chickens were the most appealing. They are sitting on eggs like they would in a hen house.

 

 

Ambush Makeover

In Ambush Makeover, producers search for a lucky lady to re-do who is kind and giving with no time for herself. This lovely lady typically has not kept her appearance up because she is too busy giving to others in need. The loved ones are always surprised when the selected lady appears with fashionable clothes, highlighted hair and beautifully applied make up. As a special treat, today we have selected 2 very lucky ladies indeed. Rory, a 3 year old pedigree standard white poodle and Lucy Marie, a 1 year old cockapoo. Both ladies have neglected their looks during this long cold winter and have not properly brushed their coat. They had other things to do; for instance– barking at the mail carrier. Let me present to you the before and after pictures of the lucky ladies.

Rory and Lucy Marie age 3 and 1 neglected their beautiful coats due to the long and dismal winter.

Rory and Lucy Marie age 3 and 1 neglected their beautiful coats due to the long and dismal winter.

After a lovely day in the poodle salon, the ladies are cleaned and brushed and waiting for Spring weather.

After a lovely day in the poodle salon (aka Petsmart), the ladies are cleaned and brushed and waiting for Spring weather. Rory immediately removes her bows upon exiting salon. Please accept out apology, she is not a bow dog.

 

Carriage Trade Dog Biscuits

A funny thing happened on my way home from work one day. I stopped into Carriage Trade Bakery at 1654 Elmwood Avenue and picked myself up a delicious cut out cookie. I noticed the dog biscuits and picked up a couple of those too. When I got home, just a couple minutes later, we were all happy and waging our tails. Before you knew it, I was stopping in more and more to pick up just one little goodie (almond biscotti, sticky bun, cinnamon roll, and still my favorite – the cut out cookie and dog biscuits). What a place! So charming. So delicious. I got to know the little family. The owners are Andy and Shandra and their daughter Devan. Now who the heck cannot resist their daughter who eats the dog biscuits for an after school snack? Why not? The biscuits are made from whole wheat flour, milk powder, wheat germ, and a touch of brown sugar. They sell for 50 cents each. Shandra said that it’s natural to want to buy your best friend a treat when you buy something for yourself. So many customers walk their dog and tie them out front and that is how the whole idea of making all natural dog biscuits started. Look for the red neon sign that says OPEN and walk on in. The cut out cookies featured now are butterflies and flowers. That will get you in the spring of things.

Shandra with a fresh tray of dog biscuits.

Shandra with a fresh tray of dog biscuits.

The biscuits fit great inside the kong toys.

The biscuits fit great inside the kong toys.

Frozen

 

 

Where’s the beach? Picture taken February 16, 2013 on the Canadian shores of Lake Erie.

Where’s the beach? Picture taken February 16, 2013 on the Canadian shores of Lake Erie.

Disney sure picked the perfect winter to release the movie Frozen. Just like Arendelle in the movie, Buffalo and many other Great Lake and East Coast cities have been in deep, deep, deep, deep snow. Buffalo got nearly 43 inches of snow in January 2014, but this month we expect less since the Great Lakes have frozen over and the lake effect snow is no longer in season with a frozen lake.

Heavy ice protect fish eggs from predators, and it has delighted photographers, ice anglers, cross country skiers, snowmobilers and of course poodles that are allowed to run free.

Nature is a wonder. Winter is beautiful but we all seem to struggle a bit more. This beach will come alive soon in the Spring but right now there are no signs of animal life around.

Winter is the time of sleep for many animals. Turtles,and frogs burrow deep into the mud to hibernate. Woodchucks and chipmunks sleep the winter away snug in their burrows  As do  earthworms and insects such moths, woolly caterpillars and bumble bees. Oh, they will be back. I have seen the chipmunk burrow holes to prove it.

But today on this winter day, I simple enjoyed the bright white snow and ice and taking a walk with my two special guys and two special dogs. It’s crazy to think how much different the beach will look in six weeks.

 

Father and son walks with the dogs along frozen Lake Erie.

Father and son walks with the dogs along frozen Lake Erie.

Where's the beach? Where's the drift wood?

Where’s the beach? Where’s the drift wood? I’ve been running around looking everywhere.

 

 

Buffalo Groundhog

Christmas Collections

My favorite discovery! Lori has made a display of all her photo Christmas cards beginning in 1992 the year their first daughter arrived. Santa and Kirby the dogs are frequently featured.

My favorite discovery! Lori Vossler has made a display of all her photo Christmas cards beginning in 1992 the year their first daughter arrived. 3 daughters later it is a cherished reminder how the years fly by. Santa and Kirby the dog are frequently featured. Kirby is a Great Pyrenees.

Oh, the nutcrackers! Oh, the stockings that are hung! Oh, the villages and trees! Oh, the Oreo cookie tins! Oh, the mantle places! Discovering all the traditions out there has been such a treat. It is so much fun to see what goes on inside the homes of Buff-A-Looooo. My goodness. Can anyone really move? The collections we accumulate out there in our homes!! Ok minimalists out there, we are making memories and cherished ones at that!  Let me share some of the pictures with you. See the collections of just a few friends and neighbors. Thank you for letting me inside your homes.

Lori has handmade needlepoint stockings that are hung with care.

Lori has handmade needlepoint stockings that are hung with care.

Pam Strickland carefully displays her Precious Moments nativity and angle collection on her mantle place. Pam remembers driving to Canada to complete the set back in the day when the US dollar gave you a great exchange rate. I mean, half the fun is the memory you create collecting your pieces.

Pam Strickland carefully displays her Precious Moments nativity and angle collection on her mantle place. Pam remembers driving to Canada to complete the set back in the day when the US dollar gave you a great exchange rate. I mean, half the fun is the memory you create collecting your pieces.

Notice in this picture that even the top of the tree is decorated with a Precious Moment tree topper angel. The Strickland family believes if you are going to go artificial in your tree -why fake it and go green? Be artificial all the way and go glistening white. Besides, the ornaments show up much better.

Julie Snyder started collecting Oreo cookie tins by accident in the 1990's. She collected an entire decade till Oreo decided not to make them anymore. The cookie tins are pulled out every year much to the delight of her friends that called her crazy for collecting them back then.

Julie Snyder started collecting Oreo cookie tins by accident in the 1990’s. She collected an entire decade till Oreo decided not to make them anymore. The cookie tins are pulled out every year much to the delight of her friends that called her crazy for collecting them back then. They really are so cute and classic looking.

 

Julie Snyder likes all the whimsey on her mantle place with a little bit of this and a little bit of that. It's a treat for the eyes.

Julie Snyder likes all the whimsey on her mantle place with a little bit of this and a little bit of that. It’s a treat for the eyes.

The nutcrackers. A classic.

The nutcrackers. A classic.

The Village!! The reason I went over to Lori's house in the first place. A wonderful collection yet I was more taken up with her Christmas photo card collection of her family.

The Village!! The reason I went over to Lori’s house in the first place. A wonderful collection yet I was more taken up with her Christmas photo card collection of her family.

Kirby. The 10 year old Great Pyrenees male dog who is slowing down a but but a big part of the Vossler home.

Meet Kirby. The 10 year old Great Pyrenees male dog who is slowing down a bit but a big part of the Vossler home.

Enjoy your mantle place, your fire place, your decorations, your traditions, your family, and memories you create each year.

Enjoy your mantle place, your fire place, your decorations, your traditions, your family, and memories you create each year.

Keep in mind, whatever you put up, you must take down. HO Ho. Sorry. Pass the eggnog and Cheers! Here’s to all the beautiful homes out there in Buffalo.