My Commonplace Blog

Bits of info in bytes



Woodland Worry Walks


On a recent flight I read the airline magazine. A pleasant read, well-suited to the audience and timeframe. The article on forest bathing stuck with me. Forest bathing is a health activity of Japanese origin that is, in brief, a slow, mindful walk in the deep woods. Look around, take in the details, and breathe deeply because apparently there’s some very good stuff in forest air. While I’d heard the term, I hadn’t paid it much attention, but on this short flight there wasn’t much else clamoring for my attention.

Our daily dog walks are not slow, and since we walk the same trails frequently there isn’t much gawking at the minutia. The story brought to the fore how I actually walk in these familiar woods — in cold weather head down to be sure I’m not stepping on ice, (as noted) always quickly, usually discussing daily woes with the hubs. At least twice a week either or both of us gets worked into a froth about something.

Occasionally I snap out of it and snap a pic of something interesting — at least I’m somewhat aware of my surroundings. So while I may be getting the aerobic benefit, I am clearly missing any additional benefits. Plus, these walks don’t take us into anything that could be labeled a forest, just some well-wooded acreage.

On the New Year’s Resolution list: Enjoy the great outdoors. With the crazy pup’s high energy, a key reason for the activity, that won’t happen on the dog walk. But I’m pretty sure nature is available to experience at almost any other time. . .











The Kludge Report – Geezer Edition

About 20 years ago, when some may still have called him young or at least youthful, I realized the hubs was a geezer. It’s a long story involving a perfectly nice young woman with a nose piercing. Even with that snippet, you can paint the picture.

This realization has been reinforced many times since, often involving the dogs. For example, feeding spoonfuls of his DQ Blizzard to the dog then feeding himself with the same spoon. I hope no one is eating as they read this, apologies. . .

The latest evidence involves Iko and her pool. Let me begin by noting this is Iko’s second pool. The pup’s only a year and a half old. She’s the only pet to get a pool, no less two. Give me a G!

Exhibit A is this contraption:

Iko pool 1

That mess of PVC and tubing is a filtration system. The pool and accompanying kludge displaced a lovely fountain that used to grace the deck. Give me an E and another E!

Iko pool 4

This is the pump that runs the system. The fountain pump wasn’t sufficient. He spent actual money to get a bigger pump. Give me a Z!

Iko pool 2

The clamp (actually a plastic clothespin from Target – only the best – usually employed to hold shade fabric in place over spring garden plants) holds the tubing in place because, well, it might fall out. That is an actual concern? Give me an E!

Iko pool 3

The 2-inch PVC spout was salvaged from the previous attempt at a filtration system. The use of this pipe was extolled to me as a money saver. Give me an R!

Iko pool 5

In the recent heat wave, Iko enjoyed her pool at least twice a day. That means the hubs was out of the house for extended periods twice a day while I was inside enjoying the blissful sound of silence. Give me a half dozen exclamation points!!!!!!





Spring in Her Step

Our pup Iko is a tad over a year. The little black fuzzball next to her is the neighbor’s Shih Tzu pup Delilah, not quite half a year. The big difference in weight class, currently 44 lbs and about 6 lbs, doesn’t hinder the scrum.

Iko and Delilah 2

Both being young and fresh, and reasonably well mannered, play time is everything. Now that the sun is out and the temps are just right, play dates happen frequently. Delilah is fearless, as is the nature of a young pup. And Iko is relatively gentle most of the time, always backing off when told or when there’s even the slightest yipe. Then the roughhousing continues, frequently with Delilah picking up a stick to instigate the chase.

After an exuberant 10-15 minutes, the play goes into an ebb and flow for another 15-20 minutes. By then the pups have run out of energy and the people/referees have run out of  conversation.

Iko green feet

Everyone retreats indoors with a happy little memory that lingers for the rest of the day. Like the grass stains on Iko’s paws.

Beauty Advice from a Veterinarian

Our dear old dog is wonderful but with two challenges: She’s almost blind and she’s got awful nails/claws. For the past two weeks she’s been bothering her back left paw, even after a nail trim. So off to the vet. He recommended vitamin E; she already gets a daily dose. Gelatin? Chicken-stock Jello wigglers every day.

He said no one has ever tried the last recommendation: soy milk. I vaguely recall something about that, so out to the interwebs. Sure enough, it is a thing.

My nails have never been good, occasionally  bordering on downright crappy. So Liza and I will be drinking soy milk for the next six months to see if our nails improve. Cross your fingers for us!

The 20 Year Car

In 1995 we bought the nicest, ‘best’ car we would likely ever own. All previous models required a certain amount of faith (and turning off the AC – for the cars that had AC) when going up a particularly long, relatively steep highway entrance ramp. My mantra: Grip the wheel and say, “Oh please, oh please, oh please.” That ramp never fazed this car, still doesn’t.

The trade-off: I insisted we keep the car for at least 20 years. We’re not tough on cars, so that hasn’t been difficult, more a problem of resisting of the Shiny New Thing Syndrome. It’s still lovely and well-designed, but the shine has definitively worn off.

As we roll into the car’s third decade, I did a mental recall of what we’ve replaced or significantly repaired just in the last two years: AC (now a must it seems), exhaust system, clutch (fortunately just a tweak), brakes, and just yesterday the battery. That last one previously replaced in 2005. The woman at the battery shop did a double-take.

Now we have an almost-10-year-old, 80-pound blind dog who can easily get in and out of that car. From the look on her face, she’s pretty sure she owns the thing. So the car remains in the family for a few more years. It’s still great fun to drive, surely our last 5-speed stick, but it’s a ‘sport’ model so a little low to the ground which gets a wee bit tougher to get in and out of every year. Perhaps that height suits the dog well.

The rust spots will be ignored, along with the squeaks and creaks that come with age. Hmm. I was talking about the car, wasn’t I?

Blog at

Up ↑


Old buildings, New tricks

Proof Perfectly

Editing - Copywriting - Advice

Mittened Hands


cate st hill

london-based design and interiors blogger

3 fashionistas sharing our inspiration on style and beauty

Saint Joan (Creative Studio)

An archive for my stuff

rachel eats

stories, pictures and cooking tales from an english woman living in rome.

bread and the machine

wonders of bread machine: baking bread and beyond

Ancient Arts Yarn

Nature | Inspiration | Glorious Colours!

It's a wild and wonderful universe.


We'll keep you warm at night

Bits of info in bytes

%d bloggers like this: