Poppy Models

At 8 1/2 months of age, Poppy is growing into her looks and like all teen Poodlettes, concerned about keeping up appearances.  The weather has been very muggy and hot and she’s spent several days at Kindergarten meaning that it was time to refresh her outfit for school.

To her great relief, she seems to be very popular with the other kids canines and comes home from school each time with an A+ except for one day….she only got an A.  She was sorely disappointed, but she explained she had been having an ‘off day’ what with the weather and all.

So for the coming month or so, she’s selected again a short-cut velveteen Copper-colored coat and she just CAN’T give up the fur cuffs, so those, too.  But she did ask for a blunt haircut around her ears–a sort of Poodlette ‘bob‘ look which is attractive on her.  Her only accessory is a polka-dot scarf with assorted colored polka-dots.  This because, as she explained, “It’s much too hot for bows in my hair and besides the other kids just try to steal them from me!”

Below are some photographs which she allowed me to snap.  She now weighs over 50 pounds and as such, could be considered a ‘plus size’ model in the Poodlette world.   (I really think she is pretty good at modeling.  But she’s told me many times that her career choice is going to be in the geriatric care field.  I don’t know why.)

Note the ‘bangs”?  She wanted to try them out with the ‘bob.’

  Fur cuffs, nails au natural

Poppy turns her head as she’s seen other models do….”fetching’ look!

A quick snapshot of her lovely coat and she was off.  Other things to do, she said…..

Friday (and Saturday) Shopping

“What else would one do after an hour of working out?  Go shopping, of course…” Jabber wryly commented.

Yep, that’s what we did on Friday.  Only one sale, but Girlfriend, Thumper, Sosew and Jabber headed on over to it–it was a good one!

First, Thumper tried to tell what time it actually was…..

None of the watches had batteries.  But they  WERE cheap!

(No, she did not buy one.  She just likes to try them on to see how they’d look. Unfortunately, Thumper seldom knows what time it is, but that’s another story.)

Next, Sosew located SHOES.  Loads and loads of 3 and 4 inch high heeled shoes!  With platforms, no less.  They were beautiful and new–and $10.

Sosew modeling for us–the shoes are below:

Beautiful!  Unfortunately, Sosew couldn’t even stand on them.  Never mind, Jabber told her.  You could just sit and look lovely.  (She didn’t buy them, either.)

On Saturday morning, only Girlfriend and Jabber headed off–first back to the same sale where Jabber had been told there was…..not one, not two, not three….but EIGHT!  EIGHT! available!  (The lady had to get them out of storage, she said.)  Jabber was beside her very own self with excitement–she’d been looking for one of these for a very long time (at a yard sale, of course, and inexpensive, of course).  And now…EIGHT! to choose from!  Oh my….

But, the lady had forgotten to get them out of storage, so Jabber decided to get the one and only one right there at the sale!  Oh, my yes!  Jabber promptly named her “Isabella”…..she is now living in the garage momentarily.


“Oh.  You want to know what it was, don’t you?  What it was that was so exciting?  That I’d been looking for for many many years?  Hmmmm.  Ok.  I’ll show you…..”

Yes, my friends.  Living in my garage, now, as I write this is a ……

bare naked lady!

“What?  Oh, you want to know what in the world I’m going to do with it?”

Make her into a Christmas tree, of course.  Wouldn’t anybody?

…..oh go ahead.  Go to pinterest and look up “Christmas Tree Mannequins” and you’ll get the idea……

I’m not the ONLY crazy person on the planet!


Vanna’s husband, The Engineer,

Above, the Engineer

is also….a farmer!  The other day, Vanna brought homegrown tomatoes and potatoes to share from the garden which The Engineer has carefully tended for several months.  The first thing I wanted to do was go home with them and make Gazpacho, that tasty cold ‘soup’  which I had not made for many years, but love.

So, I looked it up on the internets and decided to make this recipe which Alton Brown had posted:



Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown
Good Eats
American Slicer

Yield:4 servings

Ingredients–get everything set out before you begin.  Chop and measure everything, too.
1 1/2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (see below)

These 3 made 1 1/2 pounds of tomato–the one on the right is from the store (not nearly as good!) but I had it to use.

Tomato juice

I had this, so I used it.

1 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped

English cucumber–less seeds. To scrape out the seeds, just use a spoon. It took about 1/2 one of these cucumbers to make 1 cup.  I used the whole thing.

1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper–I used about 1/2 of one red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced

     I had saved some leftover jalapeño (frozen, from a can), so I used about a tablespoon.

1 medium garlic clove, minced–I had some in the refrigerator already minced, used about 1 teaspoon

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lime, juiced
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon toasted, ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt**  (go easy on the salt!  I thought it was a tiny bit too salty–and I had added only about 1/4 teaspoon of salt)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chiffonade–note I used purple basil (from the garden)
Directions (and I’ve inserted my own photos, but if you go to the website, you can watch Alton make this recipe on a video).
Fill a 6-quart pot halfway full of water, set over high heat and bring to a boil.


Make an X with a paring knife on the bottom of the tomatoes.   Drop the tomatoes into the boiling water for 15 seconds, remove and transfer to an ice bath

  I do this in the sink–scoop up the tomatoes out of the hot water with a slotted spoon.

and allow to cool until able to handle, approximately 1 minute. Remove and pat dry.

Peel (the skins will slip off starting where you made the “x” on the bottom of each tomato), core and seed the tomatoes.

The seeds and core are in the strainer, the rest of the tomatoes are in the bowl.

When seeding the tomatoes, place the seeds and pulp into a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl in order to catch the juice. Press as much of the juice through (use the back of a spoon) as possible and then add enough bottled tomato juice to bring the total to 1 cup.

I only had to add about 1/4 cup of tomato juice to make a cup.

Place the tomatoes and juice into a large mixing bowl. Add the cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, jalapeno, garlic clove, olive oil, lime juice, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire, cumin, salt and pepper and stir to combine.

Transfer 1 1/2 cups of the mixture to a blender and puree for 15 to 20 seconds on high speed.

Return the pureed mixture to the bowl and stir to combine. Cover and chill for 2 hours and up to overnight. Serve with chiffonade of basil (which you have grown and harvested from the herb garden in your backyard, right?  Right!)


Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown, 2007

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/gazpacho-recipe.html?oc=linkbackGaz


And for supper last night, we had this salad–fresh and delicious!

  Caprese salad–sliced homegrown tomatoes with mozzarella and homemade pesto.  Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Thank you to Vanna and the Engineer!


It was the third day that we’d been searching for Lincoln.  In the evenings, we’d been entertained at son and daughter-in-law’s house with dinner, been taken out to dinner, and visited some local sights–here are a few pictures:

Here is the main lobby of a large sporting goods store called “Scheels” in Springfield.

Outside the store are statues–took a picture of the two Grandsons on a statue of Abe Lincoln:

There is also a large, three-columned fish tank at the front of the store.

There is a large one of these on which to ride inside the store:

  So, of course, Son and one of the two Grandsons rode it:

One evening, Jabber got to see Grandson take his archery lesson.  He is impressive!

His instructor–a woman archery champion!–gives him pointers as he prepares to shoot.  He hit the bullseye several times!

  From a distance of 15 feet.  Grandson is 7 years old and already very good at archery.

Another evening, we dined here:

And it was here, I believe, that Thumper disclosed her love for four-cheese grilled cheese.  Only the one she ordered had six cheeses.  None-the-less, Thumper insisted it was delicious and had four cheeses:  one, two, three, four, three, four she counted.  We didn’t disagree.  She liked it!

  “Vinegar Hill’

One can see the Capitol in the background from “Vinegar Hill.”

Thumper walking towards the restaurant door.

The restaurant had interesting decor:


Old windows and chandeliers hanging over diners

After dinner, we walked the hall of the building–and who do you think I saw?

It was my old friend, once spotted at a yard sale in Springfield when I was up for a visit.  He’d found a home at a Pawn Shop!  And now he has a crown.  Suitable for the King, indeed.

Also in the adjacent display were:



Quite a menagerie!

Springfield has many artists, some who paint murals on buildings like this one in the parking lot:

The final day we went to the Lincoln Tomb.

Yes, we found Lincoln.

Or sort of…….

“Sort of” because the man and the myth have become so intertwined it is difficult for anyone to know exactly who he was.  A man of many moods, some brooding, some jovial.  He could be gentle and very caring as evidenced by his beautiful words, but he could also be determined–‘made of stone’ when it came to his belief that no man (or woman) should live in slavery.  Nothing would deter him–not even the deaths of 1 1/2 million Americans on both sides of the Civil War.  He was absolutely determined to emancipate the slaves and save the union of the United States of America.

Seeing his tomb was a solemn experience.  

The Search Continues

Not so bright and early, after a nice breakfast in our hotel, we set off to find Lincoln.  We arrived at the Lincoln Museum and spent 5 hours there, enjoying the various movies, plays and educational exhibits which were available.

This is the setting INSIDE the museum!  Yes, a replica of the White House along with some statues which represent President Lincoln and his family during his administration.

“Wait a minute!” Jabber interjected, “Who is that woman standing next to Lincoln?  She doesn’t look like a statue!”

Indeed.  She isn’t.  She’s me….errrrr….she’s YOU, Jabber.

Not to be outdone, Girlfriend had to stand next to the statues, too….

And, then, of course, Thumper had to just get up close and personal!

  Inquiring minds want to know…..

This enactment was extremely well done with holographic effects.  The ghosts seemed ‘real’ and told some of the reasons to study history, what it must have been like to be a soldier during the Civil War, and showing some of the more interesting aspects of the treasure-trove of memorabilia available for researchers.

We did locate some records about the Todd family (Lincoln’s wife), and later at another location, we found this:

Although there were statues and many pictures of Lincoln, he wasn’t here either.  So after a full day in the museum, we ventured across the street to tour the train station.  It housed and highlighted items from the movie, “Lincoln” in which Sally Field and Daniel Day Lewis starred a few years ago.

Springfield’s Lincoln museum is fascinating.  It’s definitely an important addition to history and truly makes Lincoln’s era come ‘alive.’  We recommend you go!

Looking for Lincoln

And…..we were off!

Girlfriend, Thumper and Jabber took off for the Land of Lincoln in search of…..Lincoln!

Springfield, Illinois is located smack-dab in the center of Illinois, so it was a day-long road trip to get to our destination.  Jabber’s son lives there.  First on the search was a trip through the Illinois State Capitol building.

  The Senate Chamber.  Not meeting today.

The building has recently (and is currently) undergone renovation.  This is where our current President worked prior to becoming the President of the United States.  Son pointed out his seat, in the back row.

Son explains some of the history of the building to the girls (above).

But….pretty soon…..

Thumper and Girlfriend took their seats–Presenting The Honorable Girlfriend and Honorable Thumper of the Illinois State Senate.

Thumper looks pretty comfortable in that seat, doesn’t she?

The ceilings were as gorgeous as the walls.

 One of the statues of former notable politicians in Illinois history.

Girlfriend and Thumper contemplate the history of Illinois, but they are in search of Lincoln!

Above, the outside of the building and the dome….inside the dome below.

This is the dome in the center of the Capitol building–it is magnificent!

Looking down from the second floor of the rotunda under the dome (above).

Girlfriend decided to google where Lincoln might be while Thumper has decided that, no, Lincoln definitely is not here.


We tried looking in the House of Representatives in the Capitol building, but no one was there, either.

To get to the building, Son had taken us underground, through the tunnels and Rathskeller–what an amazing walkway it was, too!

View of one side of the Illinois State Capitol Building.

We had a private, wonderfully educational tour of the building–but we didn’t find Lincoln!  Tomorrow we would search elsewhere.

The Cracker Caper

“See?  This is what happens ’round here when you leave Poppy in charge.  She’s just not grown up ‘nuf to be in charge, I tell you.  She’s just NOT!” Jabber exclaimed, exasperated at what had happened.

I just wanted a couple hours out to meet my friend for a long-delayed dinner to catch up.  So, with TMWLH’s approval, I left about 4:15 to drive over to the restaurant.  Miss Poppy had ‘recharged her batteries’ by this time, having had a full night and day to rest up after her first kindergarten attendance the day before.  It had been unusually quiet around the house, with Miss Poppy dozing all day.  She was absolutely exhausted from her day-long adventure, too tired to get into trouble.

Before I left, however, I noticed she was being playful…..and I warned TMWLH to ‘watch her’!

One of Miss Poppy’s favorite things to do is to reach items up on the counters in the kitchen, especially lately, a plastic zip lock bag holding some Ritz crackers.  She’d gotten a taste of said crackers some time ago when she successfully knocked down a TIN (in which I’d neatly stacked them), tossing the crackers out of the tin and onto the floor.  Thankfully, Daughter was here and we’d quickly scooped them up, thrown them out and rescued the few remaining in the tin before Miss Poppy managed to gobble too many.

She liked them.  (We don’t give her human food, so the only way she has a ‘chance’ is to steal a taste here and there, which she will do if we aren’t careful.)

That was a couple of weeks ago.

Since then, I’d decided to place some additional remaining crackers in a plastic zip-lock bag and put them far away from Poppy’s reach on the back corner of the counter.

I thought.

Poppy had been eyeing those crackers, waiting for the opportunity.  Which came last evening whilst yours truly was not at home.

TMWLH decided to make himself something to snack and the crackers and some leftover spread (in the refrigerator) seemed appealing.  He made the snack, but forgot about putting the crackers way back on the counter…..and left them at paw’s reach….his first mistake.

What’s that?

No, no, not ever.  He’s made mistakes before; he just doesn’t admit to them.  This time there was no denying it.

Bam!  She grabbed them.  But since she couldn’t open the bag (no opposable thumbs, don’t you know), she simply decided to chew holes in the bag to get to the crackers.  And she did…..chew holes in the bag…..

but just then…..

TMWLH heard her.

Running back into the kitchen, he yelled, ‘DROP IT!”

And Miss Poppy, sensing that her prize was about to be taken away, quickly ran into the family room, wildly shaking the now-holey bag, filled with cracker CRUMBS.  TMWLH chased after her, but she then ran evasion tactics, back into the kitchen, into the living room, under the dining room table and finally relinquished said bag.  Her job, now, was to clean up the crumbs–and they were EVERYWHERE!

Mission accomplished, she declared to herself.

TMWLH surveyed the mess.  While he went to get the vacuum cleaner, Poppy helpfully ‘vacuumed’ what crumbs she could find–the largest ones first, of course–and tracked more small crumbs around the area as she lapped up.

Then came the great vacuum battle which ensues every single time the vacuum is brought out.  TMWLH valiantly vacuumed all over whilst Poppy alternated between running, lapping up crumbs, and barking at him.

Finally, he finished.  He turned around and looked into the living room.

Miss Poppy, needing to relieve herself, had decided she’d waited long enough and was, at that moment, making her ‘deposit’ on the living room rug.

TMWLH, having lost the battle with his puppy, was in a state when I arrived home shortly thereafter.

Poppy, however, had enjoyed the adventure and was very glad to see me.

We are sending her to kindergarten for the entire day today.

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