Monthly Archives: October 2012

Let the painting begin



I have a confession to make. I am a sucker for home improvement shows on TV. It goes all the way back to This Old House, specifically the Bob Villa years and continues to this day with shows like Holmes on Homes. When we sold our house in Tucson back in early 2008, I sort of expanded that into shows that dealt with buying and selling houses. The reason I bring this up is that I have always been amazed at the people on these shows that are looking for a new home and will completely dismiss a property simply because the paint color doesn’t appeal to them. We all know that painting is hard work, but seriously, you wouldn’t buy an otherwise perfect “dream house” because a few rooms have a paint color you don’t like?  If we would have been like those people on TV, we would never have bought our new place here in Olympia.  There isn’t a single room in this house that has a paint color that we like.  The exterior is ok, but we will most likely be changing that as well.

This weekend marked the first steps at making this place “ours” and we started by painting our master bedroom.  Above is a before and after image.  We really hated the light yellow that was in there when we moved in, and wanted something a little richer and darker.  We eventually agreed on the color you see in the second image.

Painting is hard work, and we need to work our way through each and every room in the house.  I think that the living room is next, and possibly the family room after that.

Posted in Home

Then and now, what a difference 16 years can make

This blog post is going to require a tiny bit of imagination, so please bear with me.  You have probably seen those “then and now” photos before where you get a shot of a place, and then another many years later, this is one of those. 🙂

When my wife and I decided that it was time to move back to the Pacific Northwest last fall, we had initially started looking at rental properties thinking we would move and then start looking for a place to buy.  The first thing we discovered about the Olympia area was that rents tend to be pretty high.  With the money that we would have to spend, we decided that it made more sense to just switch gears and look for a property to buy.  We only had one real thing on our wish-list for what we were looking for, and that was a large piece of land that we would fall in love with.  To be honest, the house on that piece of land was of secondary concern.

We did find a gorgeous 2 acre place just south of the Olympia airport that has a nice double wide manufactured home, a 2 car detached garage and the entire 2 acres is fully fenced, which Ursa just loves. Sadly the poodle, Budro, is less in love with those big spaces.

One of the things that the previous owner left for us, and it was a great surprise, was a group of pictures that were taken in 1996 when they were putting the house in place.  This is one of those images.


This picture was taken from our neighbors front yard (our property line is just past that little fenced in section), they were the original owners of the land in this area, they are the ones that subdivided it, and know the history of the place.  Apparently our land had been part of an apple orchard in the late 1800’s and it is believed that those little brown trees that you can see are from that orchard.  We have no way of knowing that, but those trees do produce apples to this day.  You can also probably tell that at some point it was decided to turn the land into a christmas tree farm, thus all those evergreens growing in nice little rows. 🙂  At some point the christmas tree farm was sort of abandoned, and I did talk to one of our owners who said that he actually harvested a good number of them off the land when they were allowed to grow on their own.

Flash forward 16 years to when we moved in this year, and here is an image that I took from as close as I could determine was the same place as the 1996 image.



Pretty amazing what can happen over 16 years isn’t it? 🙂  Who knew that evergreens could grow so fast. You have to look VERY closely to see the skylight in our kitchen which will allow you to mentally line the images up.

In addition to the 3 apple trees that can be seen in the 1996 image, we have found 2 others that are considerably newer, as well as one pear tree that produces some of the best tasting pears I have ever eaten.  Sadly the previous owner had let the property get overgrown quite a bit, but we are making plans to get a lot of cleanup done and reclaim some of the wild.  One thing that is certain, I will need a riding mower. 🙂

I hope you enjoyed this post, I had a lot more fun putting it together than I did the last post about Ursa and  her accident.

Posted in Home

My Broken Puppy – an Ursa compilation from the old blog

Ursa, her accident and the road to recovery

This blog post is a compilation of blog posts from late 2008 and early 2009 and is being added back to the new My Blue Heaven to preserve the story.  This initially appears as multiple blog posts and there are a few missing.  

Please know that Ursa healed fully and is doing GREAT today.  You would never know that she had ever had this accident. 


My broken puppy

Filed under: Dogs — Tags: Broken, Ursa, Xray — Scott @ 4:11 pm December 2, 2008

I have enjoyed posting some snapshots of my new puppy since we got her.  This shot on the other hand is not really the one that I wanted to post.  First off, I didn’t take it, my wife did, and I really don’t find the cast all that flattering.



On Sunday evening, my wife was cleaning up all of the dog toys in the back yard when Ursa jumped for one.  She landed wrong and started screaming in pain.  We rushed her to the emergency animal hospital where we found out that she had broken her leg.



Those that follow me on Twitter have read many of the Tweets I have posted about this incident, and today was the first time I have really had a chance to sit down and post it here.

As I write this, she is at the animal hospital and will have surgery tomorrow morning. She should be returning home again on Thursday.

It will take about a month for the bone to heal. They will be inserting pins though her skin and they will be held in place with a bracket on the outside of her skin. The vet believes that this will allow her to heal fairly quickly, and anticipates a 100% recovery. She will have to spend the next month in her crate, as she can’t be allowed to be very mobile, and that will be a real challenge, but what can you do.?



Feeling a little guilty

Filed under: Dogs, Holidays, Photography — Tags: Photography, Travel, Ursa — Scott @ 9:24 pm December 10, 2008



For the last week and a half I haven’t done anything that wasn’t work or looking after Ursa.

I haven’t had a decent nights sleep since the accident, Ursa has to take sedatives to settle down at night but they only last a few hours.  We still have at least 3 weeks to go before she will be free of constant supervision.

It really is turning into a “Long December” and I really needed to interact with a little color tonight.

That is where the guilty feelings are coming from.  The wife is in the living room with Ursa and I took a few minutes to look for a colorful picture to post.

This shot was taken last fall, but brings back lots of childhood memories in Seaside, Oregon.  I won’t go into any of that now as all I really wanted was the color!

Half Way There?

Filed under: Dogs — Tags: Ursa — Scott @ 9:39 pm December 16, 2008

We got word from the vet today that Ursa will most likely get her external fixator removed on either the 29th of 30th of this month. That means that we are a little better than half way there.

These first 2 weeks have been a real challenge, and I am sure that we will have some challenges in the next 2 weeks, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Jumped the gun a little

Filed under: Dogs — Tags: Ursa — Scott @ 9:31 pm December 18, 2008



I guess I jumped the gun a little in reporting that we were “half way there” for Ursa’s recovery.

Found out that we will not be having the xrays and probably removal of the external fixator until the 7th of Jan.

We were really disappointed by this, not only because our lives are in turmoil right now, but because her’s is also.  She wants to run and play, we want her to run and play, but she will have to wait another week for that.

We are still having problems getting her to actually sleep at night, but we are increasing her sedative dosage tonight.  Hopefully that will allow us to get something that will pass for a normal nights sleep.

Wish us luck.

Hopefully the last bandage

Filed under: Dogs — Tags: Ursa — Scott @ 8:50 pm January 7, 2009



Ursa has become very popular with the entire staff at our Vet’s office. Even though her treatment is being done by a specialist, she is getting weekly checkups and bandage changes with the “regular” vet.

During our latest, and hopefully last bandage change, the staff decided to “dress” things up a little.



Note: The post announcing that she was healed and out of the fixator was lost and I can not find the original text, but the following is a 1 year follow up.

This first image is an X-Ray after the healing process and was taken the day that the fixator was removed.



This image is of her the day she was able to finally able to be on her own in the back yard which was 2 week after the fixator was removed.




A year ago today

Filed under: Dogs, Holidays — Tags: Ursa — Scott @ 3:08 pm November 29, 2009

Here we are.  It is Sunday and we are winding down from Thanksgiving weekend.  I suspect that most people are taking the day easy, watching some football and getting ready to go back to work after a long weekend.  That was exactly what I was doing one year ago today.

One year ago today, Ursa, my german shepherd / chow mix puppy was 6 months old, and had been in our house for about 2 months after adopting her from Pima County Animal Control.  On that Sunday, my wife had decided to clean up some of the toys that a young puppy had scattered all over the yard.  As she was walking across the yard with an arm full of toys, Ursa decided to jump up and grab one out of her arms.  The problem was that she landed in a small depression in the yard and came down on her hind leg wrong.  I think that most of southeastern Tucson heard her scream in pain as her leg broke.

We got Ursa into her crate and headed to the emergency animal hospital.  We spent most of the night there, sadly it was a very busy emergency room that night.  After about 6 total hours there, we were heading home with Ursa in a temporary cast that she would be in for 3 days.

We had an appointment for the next Wednesday for her to have a surgery on her leg where they would set the bone with an external fixator.  An external fixator is a device that has 2 carbon fiber shafts with surgical steel screws set into the bone and attached to the shafts.  It is really a pretty gruesome looking contraption, but the surgeon was convinced that it was the best route for her, and at her age would allow the bone to heal the best.  Ursa was at the hospital for 2 days for the surgery.

After we brought her home, we were told that she was going to have to stay off her leg for 6 weeks.  This meant that we would have to keep her in her crate when we were not home, and on a leash with us when we were.  She could not be allowed to run or jump and they didn’t even want her to walk at first.  Aside from the lifestyle change of having to spend 100% of our time with her when we were home, the real problem came at night.  Even though she is crate trained, she really hated being in her crate and would become very loud.  For the first week I think we averaged about 1 to 2 hours of sleep a night.

We talked to our regular vet about this, and she proscribed some sedatives to give Ursa before bed time, they helped a lot and allowed us 4 or 5 hours of sleep.

During the 6 week recovery, there were bandages covering the fixator to keep keep things clean, and to help prevent Ursa from licking what was going to become a very itchy leg.  These bandages had to be changed out once a week, and that task fell to our regular vet.  Ursa became somewhat popular with the whole staff at Rita Ranch Animal Hospital in Tucson, and on her final bandage change, they decided to decorate her a little.

After the 6 weeks in the fixator, it was time for her to have all of her hardware removed.  Everything went well, and even though the hardware was gone, we had to still keep her somewhat calm for the next two weeks as there were 8 holes in her bones from where the surgical pins were installed.  Those 2 weeks actually went by very fast, and even though there were times when we really didn’t know if we would survive the whole ordeal, Ursa was finally back in her feet.

We had a real concern that her spending almost 8 weeks being on a leash right next to us the whole time would cause her to want to never be away from us, but those fears were unfounded and she picked up “owning” her backyard just as she had prior to the accident.  She started running and playing as if she hadn’t just broken her leg a couple months prior to that.

Posted in WayBackMachine