THE PLOT THICKENS (Joint Post by Willow21 and Cordelia’s Mom)


Help is on the way. Should Cody and Mehitabel be worried? (Click here for the back story.)



Enough is enough.  I thought I could handle the situation here at my house, but that silly Cody dog is making my life miserable.  CookieCakes (a/k/a Cordelia’s Mom) has no idea what goes on when she’s not here.  She thinks by putting me on top of the dresser that I’m safe. 

My purpose here on earth is to watch over CookieCakes.  How can I do that if I’m locked in a bedroom all day?  So I find ways to get out and patrol. But I’m way too old to keep dodging that dog, just because I look like all the stuffed toys that Cody has shredded.

I think it’s time to call in reinforcements.  I’m taking you up your offer to come over here and straighten that dog out – maybe you can scare her straight or something.

And as long as you’re here, perhaps you can make a side-trip to Cody’s cat friend, Mehitabel.  God knows she really needs straightening out – and I’m sure the pandas will thank you.

When can I expect your arrival?  Are there any special supplies you’d like me to have on hand?

Looking forward to working with you, Teddy Rosalie

PS:  I’m thinking maybe you could “dog-sit” [snicker] when CookieCakes and I go on photoshoots.  Then you’d have lots of time to “re-train” that beast.  Would that work for you?


IMG_20150507_161719869Dear Teddy Rosalie, 

I  am ready  to visit  and  assist  immediately!

I  must  apologize –  it  appears  your  last  communication  slip  passed me  .. probably  the  dog  or  her  catty  friend  interfering! I  am sure that  with  my  eons  of  knowledge   and  your  intimate knowledge  of Cody  and  your  dear  human  we  can  sort  things  out.

In anticipation, Vlad  the  Great



Come right away.  CookieCakes is seriously distracted, what with the construction people coming in soon, and she’s been setting me down in some really unusual places.  I can’t run very fast, and I certainly can’t show any movement when CookieCakes is in the room.  It just a matter of time before that silly dog eats me.

I’m stocking up on peanut butter and bananas.  See you soon.

Waiting with bated breath, Teddy Rosalie.


Photo0261My  Dearest  Rosalie Bear,

I  am on  my  way  post  hast. I  am  just  throwing  a  few  things into my  valise:

A  spare  cape  of  invisibility (one  size  fits  all) – if  CookieCakes  is distracted   we may  need  to use  the  capes  as   means  of  escape  and for  getting  about  the  house and  neighbourhood  unmolested!!

Some  extra  nice  cookies  and  dog  biscuits  so  we can get  madam Cody  on our  side!

Also  my  special  anti-garlic  bracelet!  

And  some  pepper  spray  in case  that   pesky, sly  cat Mehitabel  comes  around.

Photo0418Did  you  mention  construction  workers? They can  be  an awful distraction  so  I understand  your  worries. I  am leaving  now –  I  can fly  at  the  speed  of  light even faster  if  I  put  my  mind  to  it! 

I have  enclosed   three pictures  of  myself   so  you  will recognize  me. (Note  to  self:  remember  not  to  wear  cape of  invisibility  on  arrival!)

Rest easy,  Lady Rosalie.  I  am on  my  way. By  the  time  you read this, I  shall be  by  your  side  to serve  and protect!

Yours, Vlad  the  speedy!

PS:  Put  that  toast  on – flying  makes  me hungry. xxxx



Willow21:  How is Vlad behaving?

Cordelia’s Mom:  Vlad is being very helpful, but staying out of sight, as one might expect.  Poor Cody is getting confused.  (PS:  I think I need to go out for some more bananas – Vlad’s a hungry little guy, isn’t he?)

Willow21:  Hungry… Better you feed him banana and peanut butter on toast than he starts on the blood milarkie!!

Cordelia’s Mom:   BTW, the washing machine was making a horrible noise this evening (seriously unbalanced load), and it scared the heck out of Cody.  Cody got tuckered out early because of it and is now sound asleep.  I think Vlad might have had something to do with it, don’t you?

Willow21:  Yes that definitely sounds like Vlad he probably put in a load of invisible capes, they weigh a ton you know. ;)


Willow (WillowDot21)  and I hope you have enjoyed the above collaborated post, and we both love to hear from our readers.   (For more Vlad stories, click here and here)

You may comment on the post, or email me at or


Vlad mages by WillowDot; Teddy Rosalie images by Cordelia’s Mom

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Show of Hands

This is in response to Marilyn Armstrong’s Serendipity Photo Prompt #7 – Hands on her blog, Serendipity.

The subject, of course, is hands (duh!).  Which immediately reminds me of one of the very first photos I took with my new camera:


Isn’t that just awesome? And believe, it wasn’t as easy to get this shot as you might think.

Right now, you’re all saying to yourselves:  “OMG, what incredible talent!  I need to hire CookieCakes to do the photography for MY blog!”

But just in case you find a single finger to be insufficient, let me share the following photo, with a little back story:

When my husband and I got engaged, he gave me a very sweet 1/4 carat diamond in a white gold setting.  Over the years, both the engagement ring and the accompanying wedding ring became snugger and snugger, to the point where I finally had to have them cut off my finger.

I went wedding-ring-less for a year or so, but kept dropping hints that I would love a ring incorporating my birthstone (a diamond) with my husband’s birthstone (a ruby).  Sometimes (not often), husbands actually listen – for Christmas, I received this:


It’s not a great picture – there are diamonds between the rubies all the way across.

Which is much better than how my mother fared.  She never had an engagement ring, and for years would drop hints to my father that she would like a “fancier wedding ring” – she dreamed no higher than a band with a few diamond chips because she knew there wasn’t much money for jewelry.  Finally, my father presented her with a ring box, and I watched as she excitedly opened it to find:

A plain gold band with slightly beveled edges, but no diamonds. Not much different than what she already wore – it was just newer.

My poor mother never did get her diamond ring.


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Images by:   Cordelia’s Mom

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Road Trips – Part II (Off to See the Future) (Re-Blog)

I-87 split

Click to enlarge photo

In approximately 11th grade, your child will begin thinking about which college he or she would like to attend.  In most cases, the college he or she really wants will be as FAR AWAY FROM MOM AND DAD AS POSSIBLE.

In our case, in order to get New York State  funding, our children pretty much had to attend college in New York State, which at least made the pre-college tours manageable.

Oldest Child (Cordelia)

Cordelia was easy.  She was awarded a very substantial scholarship to a great college right in our own hometown, and we only had to drop her off for a weekend there so she could have a mini-dorm experience.  That was  bad enough – the school  was IN THE CITY, and we are SUBURBANITES.  But she survived.

Middle Child

Our experience with  Cordelia made it somewhat easier when the next kid  began considering schools.  So we took a weekend  trip to view some of her choices.

I loved  SUNY-Geneseo – great little campus away from everything (literally), the students I saw all appeared to take their studies seriously, and it was the only school we looked at that  required an essay from the parents as to why their child should be invited to attend.  It seemed to be a parent’s dream college.  All I heard from my kid when we left there was, “There’s nothing to do there” (read, “no party places.”)

From there, we drove to SUNY-Albany.  At that time, SUNY-Albany (I believe) was rated in a survey of college students as one of  “the party schools” in the country.  The dorms were situated in two very high towers (can you say 9/11?), and even the “model” dorm room we were shown totally sucked.  Thank God, my kid didn’t like that school any more than we did.

So, did she choose either of those schools we had visited?  Of course not – she chose another college, which just happened to be in a town with lots of partying possibilities.

(Good thing, Mom and Dad were only 3 hours away – far enough that we didn’t know what really went on there, but close enough to handle The Emergency Call [after a night of partying, of course]).

Admittedly, the college she chose did have excellent programs, which led to a four-year degree and a decent job right out of school, so in hindsight it wasn’t the worst possible choice.

Youngest Child – Are We Done Yet?

The most memorable pre-college trip was with my youngest daughter.  This was a child who had never been away from home and never indicated that she wanted to be far from the fold.  So, when she kept insisting on colleges at the other end of the state, I finally told Dad, “Ok, I’ll take her.  Once she sees how far from home it is, she’ll change her mind.”

We based ourselves in Poughkeepsie and drove from there to the various schools we were interested in. Cordelia went with us.

We all loved Vassar College – charming little college town, historic old buildings.  And a gateway guard with a true sense of humor.  I asked  where we should park, and he said “right over there.”  “Right over there” required parallel parking, which I’ve never been good at.  By the time I maneuvered into the spot, we had quite a crowd gathered, all of whom were trying not to laugh.  It was only after our tour that I  found out there was an actual parking lot just past the building in front of which I had parallel parked!

Unfortunately, Vassar also has a humungous tuition cost – way out of our league.  But I did buy a really nice coffee mug.

Our next visit was to SUNY-Purchase.  Now, I had  been there 20 years or so before when my husband had a job interview in the area.  At that time, I was quite impressed with the fairly new campus out in farmland and the areas where construction was obviously about to start.  20 years later, I was quite impressed that the “about to start” construction apparently never did start and the campus had not changed a bit, except to become pretty run-down.

Although the school is known for an excellent music program, after tripping over a few broken pavement stones, my daughter decided she was not interested.


(Note:  Our visit to SUNY Purchase was in 2007 – according to the link, above, construction was done in 2013.)


On to the next stop – Sarah Lawrence College.  We only went there because Cordelia and I had both wanted to attend for its writing program and wanted to see what the campus was like (and to dream).   Loved the school, hated the traffic.

After our tour, our route back to Poughkeepsie required that we merge onto a busy parkway and then immediately get into the far left lane to merge onto a busy expressway to take us back to our hotel.  Sounded easy enough when I Mapquested it.

But we hit rush hour.

When we got to the approach to the parkway, I realized traffic in the far left lane was backed up for miles in the other direction, and I had to be able to get in and merge to the left immediately.  Couldn’t get to the end of the line without going the wrong  way for miles.

That old Toyota Camry commercial ran through my head (“Punch it, Margaret!”).  I said to myself:  I can do this!

Got onto the parkway with no problem (not much traffic in the first 2 lanes – everyone was in that far left lane).  Merging became an issue.  I kept pace with traffic, with my left signal blinking – surely someone would let me in (See the Buffalo, NY plates, everyone?  Obviously, I’m not used to this road.)

There appeared to be a break behind a lady driving an SUV.  I attempted to merge – she slowed down to block me.  Now there was a space in front of her.  I speeded up – she speeded up to block me.  I would have thought she was just not paying attention, were it not for the smirk on her face as she clearly looked over at my smaller vehicle.

Flying MonkeysThe on ramp to the expressway was coming up fast.  Either I got into that far left lane, or we were heading towards New York City!  I could see the sign ahead on the right announcing the approach to the Tappan Zee Bridge (“I would turn back if I were you!”).  Ok, maybe that last was just my panicked brain talking, but I sure didn’t want to find out what was on the far side of the Tappan Zee, at least not today.

The crosshairs for the split appeared, and I was still trying to merge.  The lady in the SUV was still playing games.  I screamed, “God damn it, LET ME IN!”  She laughed and continued to keep pace.

Finally, at the very last possible moment, the driver of the old beater car behind the SUV took pity on me and let me in.  Whew!

For those of you who are now sure that Cordelia’s Mom is a lunatic (I know my kids thought so at the time), had I not been able to merge, I would, in fact, l have simply driven across the bridge and then merely turned around and headed back, hopefully with an easier merge in the other direction. (And hopefully not being  pursued by flying monkeys.)

So, did this child attend any of the schools we had looked at?  Of course not.  She got the same scholarship to the same school in our hometown that Cordelia had attended.  Funny how funding can make the college decision so much easier!

And – We’re Done!

No one ever said that raising kids would be easy.  But it certainly is an experience!  And I definitely am glad that I am on the far side of that experience.


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Images by MPD01605 and Paul Farla, respectively

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I want to be a Meteorologist


I’ve always said that meteorologists have the best job – big bucks, and they never have to be right about anything. Enjoy this re-post!

(Comments on closed here – please leave comments over on Kim’s site.)

Originally posted on Stuff my dog taught me:

imagesThe weather app shows a bright yellow sun wearing a puffy gray cloud like a little hat. The cloud is decorated with two super-blue (and oddly cheerful looking) raindrops. For those of us who are struggling to relate this image to anything we have ever seen in the sky, a written summary clarifies that it is “sunny with chance of shower” and identifies the temperature range as “between 14 C and 22 C, although it will feel like 27 C”.  Hmmmm…

Based on this information, I can conclude that:

  • It will be sunny… unless it rains, and
  • It will be hot… unless it is cold

These uber-helpful facts allow me to deduce that:

  • I should wear a t-shirt, shorts and sandals… or a sweater, pants and water-proof boots
  • I should apply sunscreen and carry an umbrella
  • I should eat lunch at a restaurant that has a patio but expect the patio…

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