Our Alaskan Malamute, Rhaegar (aka (“Catoico’s New Found Adventure”). 2018

It is with an incredibly heavy heart that we’ve decided to give Rhaegar back to his breeder. We’ve had some incidents of aggression such that I don’t feel I can trust him. I’ve loved him with all my heart since he was 8 weeks old, but I’ve failed him as a leader.

The reality of all of this has taken it’s toll on me emotionally, and physically.

He’s going to fly to Wisconsin tomorrow with a friend of the breeder (who is also an Alaskan Malamute breeder) tomorrow. He’ll be staying with her for a few days and be evaluated for temperament.

Then he’ll go to boot camp. Stacey (the breeder) feels very confident that she will be able to find a great home for him. He may even be a show dog someday. I feel blessed to have chosen such a wonderfully supportive breeder.

I’ll be following his progress, knowing that doing this is THE best thing we could do for him. As our trainer said, it’s just not a good mix given our sedentary lifestyle and his needs.

I failed him.

2018 is starting out to be a real challenging year.

UPDATE 4/9/2018

Even though the breeder promised she’d keep us informed of his progress, she did not. I sent her a few text messages asking how he was doing and the response was always the same, ‘still in rehab, making progress’.

Until today.

Last Saturday, I decided to do a google search of his AKC registration number. What I learned put my heart at peace. He was being shown and had actually earned some points!

So today, I sent this text to his breeder – Stacey Moore of Midland, Texas.

And here is the subsequent, very hurtful exchange:

Home Improvements, 2018

Trying to take care of some home maintenance and improvements this summer.

First, the garden shed didn’t have any ventilation so I bought this beautiful cupola and weathervane.

I also replaced the east side, front fencing and gate. Here’s the before photo:

And the work in progress photos:

And the after photo. We still have work to do to make it puppy proof, but that will come soon.

It has a double bolt on it so it’s very secure. I’m delighted with how it turned out.

Building My New Garden Shed

Originally published Aug, 10, 2010; updated June 13, 2018

My new project is a really pretty garden shed for my back yard. This photo is from the book I have with the plans.

The style matches my house so it will blend in really well. It’s 10 X 12 feet.

My specific goal for this summer is to build the foundation/floor. It took me quite a while to dig up to courage to start, but now that I have, I feel pretty confident I’ll be able to complete it – hopefully by next summer.

As of August, 10, 2010, here’s what I’ve accomplished so far.

August 13, 2010 – I am making progress! Once I got past my fear of doing this by myself, it is going well. I’m finding that if I read the instructions too far in advance, I start to think I can’t do this. What I’m learning about myself is to trust that with a little patience, and a lot of concentrated thinking, I can do it. I’m also not reading too far forward anymore. Just one step at a time and it doesn’t seem so overwhelming.

This is such a challenging project for me. Mentally and physically. Reading construction plans is definitely a new experience. And it’s very challenging work physically for me.

I finished the foundation/floor on August 15, 2010.

And the back wall and lower front wall on August 22, 2010. And yes… because I’m such a noob at this, the foundation is actually a bit larger than the building will be. I’ll have to figure out a way to hide that when this finished.

August 25, 2010, I finished the side wall with the door frame. Whew…. that seems like a huge accomplishment.

September 4, 2010. Labor Day Weekend and I was hoping for some nice, warm summer weather to work on it. I have to keep reminding myself that this is the Pacific Northwest where we go from 85 and sunny to 65 and cloudy overnight. And I’ve learned something new today – damp wood doesn’t cut easily so I’m having to wait until later today when it warms up a bit to finish cutting the roof rafters. Here’s what it looks like now. Am really hoping to get the roof on before I have to put a tarp over all of it for the winter.

September 6, 2010, 6 PM End of Labor Day Weekend and all of the roof rafters are done – thanks to Ryan for his help!

Just as we were finishing the last rafter, the rain started. We quickly put up the tarp which will keep it dry until I can start working on it again – hopefully later this week.

September 12, 2010. Ryan is in Dallas for a couple of weeks and I promised him I would not climb too high on a ladder to work on this while he’s not around. Plus, my hands have really taken a beating with this project and they are very, very sore. I did get the front large window headers installed, as well as the stud above the door. I also reinforced the underside of the rafter brackets. So, even though it doesn’t look different, I’m making progress, slowly but surely.

September 28, 2010.

The north side and south side with the siding started. I am using flashing to prevent damage to the foundation where I neglected to build it out to the edge.

Framing this shed out myself has really aggravated the pain in my hands. If I’ve learned anything in all of this, it is to recognize when to ask for help. To prevent any further damage to my hands, I’ve hired a really terrific handyman to help me finish this.

October 6, 2010.

It’s almost done! I decided to use real tempered glass in the windows. It looks much nicer than plexiglass and was slightly less expensive. I also have the roofing material going down between the large windows because it will make it easier to maintain (I don’t have to paint trim between the large windows).

October 9, 2010

I still need to paint the trim on the double door but everything outside except the ramp, and landscaping around the foundation is done.

I installed a photosensitive outside light that goes on at dusk and off at dawn as noted in the pic below. Because of the beautiful glass windows, it is a very bright and light garden shed during the day. I installed a 48″ T12 light unit inside though which will provide really nice and bright light if I ever need to work inside when it’s dark.

The large glass windows allow rain to fall right to the ground because there is about 1″ between the cedar framing and the glass. Not exactly what the plans called for but I like it better.

I will be putting down some vinyl tile flooring and installing peg board and maybe some organizers inside – probably next spring.

October 16, 2010

It’s a beautiful, chilly fall day here so I decided to prep the plywood floor for vinyl tile installation. Had to use floor leveling spackle and sand. And now my hands are really, really sore.

The directions for installing the vinyl floor tile require the tile to be stored for 48 hours at 65 degrees before installation, and than installed at no less than 65 degrees. So I ordered a space heater for the shed. Has a thermostat so I should be able to get the floor installed and than keep the shed at no lower than 55 degrees.

UPDATE – June 2018

My beautiful garden shed has been a challenge because I didn’t install any ventilation – which means it gets really hot in there in the summer. Bottom line is it has become a storage shed more than anything else.

To solve that, I decided to go with a cupola on the roof for ventilation.

I found this wonderful, perfect size cupola and weathervane while researching the various methods for adding ventilation. And it was installed yesterday (June 12, 2018).

It’s beautiful!

Now the next step is to get it all nice and organized so I can really use it for my bonsais.

My Dad – John Joseph Connolly

Would have been 96 years old today.

We had a pretty challenging relationship. I inherited his stubbornness and pride.

I also inherited his deep commitment to his children.

I’m almost 64 years old now.

I’d love to have time with him again.

Wisdom comes with age.

I miss him.

He used to take us camping every other week during summers. We would all bring our best friend so there was always six of us kids. We’d spend a week at one of the beautiful California state beach parks.

Every morning he’d cook pancakes for us.

Some say I look like him. I only hope I live up to the legacy he aspired to when it came to his children. Happy Birthday, Dad.

Refreshing our home – 2017

I’ve been doing a lot of work on our home in 2017. With the passing of our last Pug (Joey), it was time.

The ‘family’ room and downstairs bathroom were first up. Work was done in April 2017.

The flooring, fireplace surround and mantel are so beautiful. And the marble around the fireplace matches the marble in the bathroom. Here’s a before and after picture.

Here’s the bathroom before after demolition, work progressing and after.

In November 2017, it was time for phase 2 – the entry, living, dining, and kitchen. All the flooring is the same downstairs now. And with a fresh coat of matching paint, things look brand new!

Like-minded people, Michael Moore, Estranged Family

My soul longs for like-minded people.

Our country is diving quickly into totalitarianism, and I long to be with others who see this as clearly as I do.

This past weekend, I flew to NYC to see Michael Moore’s show on Broadway: The Terms of My Surrender.

Matt was supposed to go too, but his heart was never really into taking the trip with me to begin with. As he told me, he tries to “accommodate” me. It is a terrible feeling to know your son gives absolutely zero shits about spending time with you.

So when it became clear the day before we were to leave that he was just “accommodating” me, I cancelled his flight. I really have no desire to spend time with someone who doesn’t want to spend time with me. And Matt made it painfully clear he wasn’t going to go if we were going to fight.

There’s a lot more to all of this; suffice it to say that I no longer have a relationship with my oldest son; such a heart-breaking situation.

Ryan was so compassionate. While I was packing for the trip, he knew how I was feeling. He hugged me while I cried.

Regardless of Matt’s cancelling his participation in our trip, I had the most extraordinary experience once I got over my fear of traveling alone.

The hotel in NYC is near the airport, so I knew I’d be fine getting there. It was getting to and from mid-town Manhattan that concerned me. I’ve never hailed a cab alone so I knew I’d have to buck up and just do it.

The hotel called a cab for me and I paid $85 (including tip) to get from JFK to the Belasco Theater on 44th, between 6th and Broadway. It was worth it.

While there, I found a wonderful Irish pub (O’Donoghue’s on 44th Street between 5th Ave & Broadway) and had brunch while I waited for show time. While there, I met a lovely young lady from Galway who informed me how to correctly pronounce my Irish family’s home county – Leitrim (lee-trim).

I got to the theatre around 1:15 PM (show time was 2 PM – no late seating).

First, this wonderful 93 year-old woman sat behind me. Her friends were so kind and caring of her. I made a comment about that and we started talking. Her friend asked me where I was from. I told her Seattle. She then asked if I came just for the show, and I said yes. She was so surprised and asked why.

I said I needed to be with like-minded people.

We hugged.

Kindred spirits recognize each other.

The show was truly wonderful.

Michael Moore has been a staunch advocate for authentic progressive values since a very young age. I feel blessed to have had this opportunity.

I stepped out of my comfort zone heading out to find a cab for the ride back to the hotel. I decided to use the Lyft app on my phone and WOW. It was great! The application makes it easy to see where your driver is – we found each other on a very busy mid-town Manhattan corner.

I arrived back at the hotel around 6:15 PM and decided to have dinner in the hotel’s restaurant. I found a lovely table with a private TV screen, so I had salmon and caught up on previous episodes of The Walking Dead (the season premier was Sunday night at 9 PM).

I made my way back to my room after eating way more food than I should have.

I took a hot bath and climbed into bed.

Loved watching The Walking Dead season premier, and the Talking Dead afterwards. I couldn’t fall asleep until very late as my body was still on Seattle time.

Unlike the night before, I tossed and turned all night. The energy from the show, and the realization that I no longer had a relationship with my oldest son was taking an emotional toll.

After catching the shuttle to the airport, I arrived two hours ahead of schedule – as planned. I decided to read a book (The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood) while I waited.

When I arrived in LAX around 11 AM Sunday, the woman I met at the Michael Moore show on Broadway had replied to my comment on Michael’s facebook post! We found each other – again!

So many blessings all around!!!

I know it will take some time to heal from the fallout with Matt. He’s my oldest son and I love him with all my heart. I just can’t take the emotional abuse any longer.

Yes, it was my fault; technically I did cancel his ticket. But to be told I coerced him to go in the first place, and he was “accommodating” me hurt so much.

There’s a deep wound in Matt that I caused. I was harsh with him more often than not while he was growing up, and he’s had a deep-seated hatred for me since then. I did coerce him into the trip in the first place, which was a huge mistake.

I’m learning Life Lessons every day. I hope this one sticks so I can be a better parent to Ryan.

Here’s a few photos I took while there.

The energy in the theater was absolutely palpable! He’s a short video I took before the show.

I feel incredibly blessed to have been able to be there.