Sunday, June 29, 2008

Martha Stewart's Summer Entertaining

Mouthwatering backyard BBQs, cool cocktails and a super summer surprise for kids -- join Martha Stewart as she shares clever tips and spectacular ideas for all this and more in her new Fine Living Network special, Martha Stewart's Summer Entertaining.
Get inspired by a beautiful outdoor Tuscan buffet and be prepared to entertain anytime with Martha's simple solutions for the perfect summer pantry.
Whether you spend your summer in the park or in the sand, Martha Stewart's Summer Entertaining is the one stop for delightful summer fun!
Fine Living Network has not yet released air dates for this special. The current special, "Martha Stewart's Green Living" runs through July 15th.

Kitty and Miss Kitty - An Update

I went to the animal rescue today and paid a visit to the two cats that belonged to the sister of Annette, the caller into Cat Chat. What wonderful cats!
I'm pleased to report that they both are doing fine. Kitty, the larger of the two adjusted quite quickly, but has been hesitant to join the other cats in the community room (all in good time). Miss Kitty, the black and white tuxedo cat had a slower time making the adjustment; but is now just a love bug. They are both terrific cats. I'm still hoping a foster family can be found until they can return home to their loving Mom.
Medically, both cats are healthy. They were well taken care of. There are no problems at all! Both are eating well and they are getting plenty of attention from the volunteers.
My thanks again to everyone at Friends of Michigan Animals Rescue for taking in these two cats who needed the love and attention FMAR can provide.

My First Sunflower of the Season

It seems a bit early for sunflowers. But, I'm not complaining. It's one of my favorite flowers in the garden.

The Little Red and White Table

Several weeks ago this wonderful antique red and white enamel topped table found it's way into our home. I've always loved the look of these tables. A little bit retro, a little bit antique.

A mainstay in any farmhouse kitchen in the 1940's, enamel top tables usually served as an extra work surface in the small kitchens of the time. This particular table is the perfect size for a kitchen desk. I've always wanted a kitchen desk.

When we brought the table home, given where it had been (in an out building, collecting dust, dirt and bugs) it was in very good shape. The enamel top was dirty, but it could be cleaned. The wooden legs and drawer had chipping and peeling paint, but it was still sturdy and there were no obvious places suffering with wood rot.

The first project was to clean the enamel top. A few soap and water washes brought up the bulk of the surface dirt. There were a few age spots in the enamel where it turned a light grey color. A Mr. Clean Magic Eraser did the trick! (I love the magic eraser product... it truly does remove just about anything!) While still showing some age, the table top came out beautifully.

My first thought as I looked at the table legs was to clean, sand, strip and repaint the piece. After some well placed advice from family and friends, I've decided to leave the table as is. I will do just a bit of light sanding to remove loose flakes of paint, but the cracked and peeling paint gives the table it's character. I will apply a low sheen sealant and leave the piece as it is.

The issue now at hand is finding room and making it fit into the kitchen! I've learned over the years of buying furniture and creating living spaces how important it is to measure a piece to make sure it will fit! Something will have to go in order for the table to come into the kitchen space. If it doesn't work out so the table can live in the kitchen, it makes an excellent craft table. One way or the other, there are still years of use ahead.

As I look at the table I can't help but wonder about the meals that were prepared, or the pie tins that were filled on it's trusted surface. I can only hope it came in as handy for it's first owner as it will for me.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Seasonal Arrangement

My garden is full of greenery. Different textures, different shades, different sizes. While I have a good number of "flowers" in the garden, I often times enjoy a seasonal arrangement of greenery.
Inspired by a story that appeared in Martha Stewart Living some years ago, I frequently will make arrangements of Hosta leaves to bring indoors. While not long lived, the arrangement will last 4-5 days.
This arrangement displays a cluster of Hosta leaves, Lady's Mantle blooms and a few lavender blooms. I love the green/purple combination.
Looking for a wonderful centerpiece for a long dining room table? Place single Hosta leaves in individual bud vases and line them down the center of the table. It's simple, it's elegant, and it speaks of the season.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A Late June Garden Update

The first Clematis bloom of the season

My herb pot (one of three)

Basil anyone?

The Chicago Peace Rose and it's first bloom. The other buds have rotted, which doesn't make me happy!

No matter what I do with settings on my camera, I cannot get a good picture of this wonderful yellow rose. My Mom bought this plant for me years ago and it blooms all season long.

A blue and light blue/white delphinium among the Lillie's and other plants

More Lillie's

Welcome to Grandma's house! Geraniums in a window box (actually, it's a fence box).

Another blue delphinium

The Color Purple (in an urn that is..)

The Lady's Mantle in bloom. The rain knocked the long stems over.

This is the grey cat that has decided to make his/her home here in the garden. I've named him/her Sebastian (Seba if it's a female). S/he is adorable. So loving and friendly.

This hanging planter was a gift from my sister a few years ago. It's a double hanging copper pot planter. I've always loved this planter. Once the petunias grow out to their maximum size it will be a wave of color.

Potted Hosta lend themselves to cover some of the water feature that sits just off the patio.

Pinks, reds, purples... there is no theme.

My lavender has been non stop blooms this year. It smells SO good when you walk up the porch steps.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Expansion of Weddings on

Brides-to-be have long relied on Martha Stewart and her team of experts for wedding-related ideas and inspiration.

Today, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. (NYSE: MSO) takes the wedding planning process to a new level by unveiling a robust suite of online wedding-planning tools available at ( and powered by WeddingWire (

The introduction of the new toolset is part of MSLO's larger strategy to extend its wedding franchise, which includes the award-winning Martha Stewart's Weddings magazine, extensive online content on and weddings-related books such as Weddings by Martha Stewart and Martha Stewart's Wedding Cakes. The Martha Stewart Collection exclusively at Macy's is the No. 1 brand on Macy's bridal registry.

Now, with these free and easy-to-use tools, couples and wedding planners can turn to to plan and manage their entire wedding experience from start to finish. The new tools include:

-- My Budget -- easily track payments and expenses
-- My Guests -- draft or import the invite list and then track RSVPs, invitations and gifts
-- My Seating -- build and manage the seating chart by dragging and dropping people into their chairs
-- My Timeline -- generate a personalized timeline based on wedding date
-- My Checklist -- manage tasks and keep track of wedding details
-- My Vendors -- save, rate and recommend favorite vendors from the vendor search tool

These tools join an existing vendor search function that was introduced on earlier this year, providing access to thousands of wedding vendors nationwide and allowing couples to easily locate vendors in their geographic area.

"We're thrilled to be providing access to such a rich array of wedding-planning tools. This new offering provides a seamless experience, making us even more attractive to brides, grooms, wedding planners and marketers. It also strengthens our position in the space as we grow our Weddings franchise online and in print," stated Wenda Harris Millard, MSLO Co-CEO and President of Media. "WeddingWire's expertise will also enable us to offer similar tools and features across our Internet sites."

The introduction of the wedding-planning toolset is the result of MSLO's investment in WeddingWire, a localized wedding platform that combines an online marketplace with planning tools and a social community, announced in February 2008.

"Our collaboration with MSLO is off to a strong start. Together we have created an unparalleled offering that benefits our rapidly expanding community of local wedding vendors, and engaged couples, who can now access these cutting-edge tools on," said Timothy Chi, Chief Executive Officer of WeddingWire. is an ideal destination for couples preparing for their nuptials. In addition to the new planning tools, brides-to-be can access creative ideas from the award-winning Martha Stewart's Weddings magazine, gain expertise at the "Brides Guide" blog written by Weddings Editorial Director Darcy Miller, view photo galleries ranging from vibrant floral centerpieces to stunning gowns, watch wedding segments from The Martha Stewart Show, browse decorations and favors from Martha Stewarts Crafts or view registry items from the Martha Stewart Collection exclusively at Macy's.

Additionally, Hilton Family e-Events has signed on as a charter sponsor of The Hilton Family will be promoting their e-Events booking tools that allow users to book group accommodations to their family of brands and U.S. hotel locations.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Martha Stewart Embroidery Line

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. (MSLO) (NYSE: MSO) and SVP Worldwide, owner of SINGER(R), HUSQVARNA VIKING(R), and PFAFF(R) sewing machine brands, announced today the new Martha Stewart Embroidery line.

Classic Embroidery Patterns, the first in a series of embroidery designs produced by MSLO and SVP Worldwide, provide designs for monogramming and frame, border, and corner artwork that allow for further enhancement and personalization of sewing and embroidery projects. These patterns include Scallop, Laurel, and Twist, three simple, graceful embellishments inspired by timeless embroidery patterns, as well as an elegant font--custom-designed to Martha's specifications--for creating clean, beautiful monograms.

Martha Stewart, Founder of MSLO, stated: "Adding a monogram or embroidered detail is a simple way to give your work a distinctive finishing touch. It's still one of my favorite ways to make my creations more personal."

Ms. Stewart unveiled her new line of embroidery designs while speaking at the 22nd Annual Husqvarna Viking International Dealer Convention in San Antonio, Texas, where the world's new top of the line HUSQVARNA VIKING DESIGNER DIAMOND(TM) sewing and embroidery machine was launched. Ms. Stewart was presented with the very first DESIGNER DIAMOND machine.

"The new Husqvarna Viking Designer Diamond sewing and embroidery machine is ideal for sewers and quilters," said Ms. Stewart. "It is an excellent, high-quality machine that is truly a pleasure to use and offers many wonderful features to enhance any project and ensure the most beautiful results."

In addition to the embroidery and monogramming designs, each Martha Stewart Embroidery kit will provide a booklet featuring instructions for recreating the projects featured on the packaging as well as inspiration and ideas for creating unique projects. Suggested templates for formatting letters with various frames, borders, and corners will also be included.

"Martha Stewart has elegantly combined her love of sewing and rich history of embroidering her own projects with this new inspiring collection," said Don Fletcher, CEO of SVP Worldwide. "Whether a new or experienced sewer, the easy to use yet intricate detailed designs will enhance and personalize any sewing project."

The exclusive line of Martha Stewart Embroidery designs will be available this summer where HUSQVARNA VIKING, PFAFF, and SINGER products are sold.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Now, a Word from a Beekman Goat

Not an official ad. I made it up.

From Martha's Table

Martha Stewart Living Radio will broadcast a very special edition of "From Martha's Table" with special guest Emeril Lagasse. Martha will broadcast live on Monday, June 16 at 4pm eastern time. Martha and Emeril are to discuss a variety of topics from culinary points of view to upcoming projects. Listeners are welcome to call into the broadcast to talk with Martha and Emeril. (1-866-675-6675)

Emerils appearance on the show comes just one week before he and Martha will be featured on the July issue of 'Everyday Food.' Emeril will be joining the Everyday Food team with a new column in the digest size magazine.

Subscribers to Sirius Satellite Radio can listen to Martha Stewart Living Radio on channel 112. If you are not a subscriber you can sign up for a three day free trial and/or sign up for Internet radio only (a nominal monthly charge) at
(photo courtesy of

Friday, June 13, 2008

Flag Day - June 14

The Fourth of July was traditionally celebrated as America's birthday, but the idea of an annual day specifically celebrating the Flag is believed to have first originated in 1885. BJ Cigrand, a schoolteacher, arranged for the pupils in the Fredonia, Wisconsin Public School, District 6, to observe June 14 (the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes) as 'Flag Birthday'. In numerous magazines and newspaper articles and public addresses over the following years, Cigrand continued to enthusiastically advocate the observance of June 14 as 'Flag Birthday', or 'Flag Day'.

On June 14, 1889, George Balch, a kindergarten teacher in New York City, planned appropriate ceremonies for the children of his school, and his idea of observing Flag Day was later adopted by the State Board of Education of New York. On June 14, 1891, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia held a Flag Day celebration, and on June 14 of the following year, the New York Society of the Sons of the Revolution, celebrated Flag Day.

Following the suggestion of Colonel J Granville Leach (at the time historian of the Pennsylvania Society of the Sons of the Revolution), the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames of America on April 25, 1893 adopted a resolution requesting the mayor of Philadelphia and all others in authority and all private citizens to display the Flag on June 14th. Leach went on to recommend that thereafter the day be known as 'Flag Day', and on that day, school children be assembled for appropriate exercises, with each child being given a small Flag.

Two weeks later on May 8th, the Board of Managers of the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution unanimously endorsed the action of the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames. As a result of the resolution, Dr. Edward Brooks, then Superintendent of Public Schools of Philadelphia, directed that Flag Day exercises be held on June 14, 1893 in Independence Square. School children were assembled, each carrying a small Flag, and patriotic songs were sung and addresses delivered.

In 1894, the governor of New York directed that on June 14 the Flag be displayed on all public buildings. With BJ Cigrand and Leroy Van Horn as the moving spirits, the Illinois organization, known as the American Flag Day Association, was organized for the purpose of promoting the holding of Flag Day exercises. On June 14th, 1894, under the auspices of this association, the first general public school children's celebration of Flag Day in Chicago was held in Douglas, Garfield, Humboldt, Lincoln, and Washington Parks, with more than 300,000 children participating.

Adults, too, participated in patriotic programs. Franklin K. Lane, Secretary of the Interior, delivered a 1914 Flag Day address in which he repeated words he said the flag had spoken to him that morning: "I am what you make me; nothing more. I swing before your eyes as a bright gleam of color, a symbol of yourself."

Inspired by these three decades of state and local celebrations, Flag Day - the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777 - was officially established by the Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson on May 30th, 1916. While Flag Day was celebrated in various communities for years after Wilson's proclamation, it was not until August 3rd, 1949, that President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Emeril's Kickin' It Up at Everyday Food

Everyday Food, the easy-to-use, digest-size cooking magazine published by Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, welcomes guest columnist Emeril Lagasse, the newest member of the Martha Stewart family, in the July/August issue (on newsstands June 23).

Emeril unveils his column -- "Kick It Up - Everyday with Emeril," which features eight pages of grilling ideas perfect for summer barbeques in this issue. To coincide with the premiere column, Martha and Emeril appear on the magazine's cover. Additionally, on Monday, June 16, from 4:00-5:00 p.m., Emeril will join Martha for a special edition of At Martha's Table airing on Martha Stewart Living Radio on SIRIUS Satellite Radio, Channel 112.

"Everyday Food readers are in for a real treat with Emeril's new column. With these fabulous recipes, we should all plan to enjoy a lot of barbeque this summer and look forward to sampling even more of his delicious recipes in the months ahead," stated Martha Stewart, MSLO Founder.

Recipes in Emeril's July/August column include Simple Ribs, Fish Provencal, Caribbean Chicken, Macaroni Salad and Green Bean Salad. In September, Emeril will continue to share original, seasonal meal solutions inspired by his family, his friends, and his travels. Each dish in "Kick It Up" will be fast, easy and delicious with the innovative ingredient combinations that are Emeril's signature.

"I'm very excited about my new column 'Kick It Up' in Everyday Food," said Emeril Lagasse. "In upcoming issues, I'll share my favorite recipes to make cooking at home even more flavorful and fun. The July/August column celebrates summertime with my family's much-loved recipes prepared on the grill. First up: my son's favorite BBQ ribs. Now that's what I call kicking it up!"

Growth on Multiple Platforms

Launched initially as a magazine in 2003, Everyday Food is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year and has expanded beyond print. Everyday Food is now the #1 rated cooking show on PBS, followed by Everyday Baking from Everyday Food, a complement to the original show. Editor Sandy Gluck and home cook Betsy Karetnick host the Everyday Food radio show daily from 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. on Martha Stewart Living Radio, SIRIUS Satellite Radio Channel 112.

Additionally, in the coming weeks, Emeril will join as a guest on Everyday Food's "Dinner Tonight" blog which offers recipe ideas daily at
Everyday Food's rate base increased to 900,000 with the January/February 2008 issue, the sixth increase in the magazine's five-year history. The magazine has experienced double-digit growth in newsstand sales as well as healthy bonus circulation (greater than 5%) with subscriber satisfaction ratings at an all-time high.

In July, Everyday Food and Dream Dinners will begin a month-long program showcasing Emeril's Fish Provencal recipe from the July/August issue in franchise locations nationwide.


Segments from Martha Stewart Living are now available on iTunes! You can download specific monthly segments to your iPod or view them from your iTunes software on your computer! These segements are FREE!

iTunes junkies can subscribe to the free Martha Stewart on Demand service with iTunes and receive the new monthly content automatically each month!

With iTunes, you can save your favorite segments for viewing anytime. Remember a project that you want to review? Need some step by step how to with a recipe? Check iTunes and keep Martha at your fingertips anytime, any place!

Susan Lyne Leaves MSLO as President and CEO

Susan Lyne, who rebuilt the Martha Stewart Living business in the aftermath of the namesake founder's legal woes, has stepped down as chief executive, and the job is being split between two company executives.

The management changes come as Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. navigates through a tough advertising climate and confronts a consumer - saddled with high gas and food prices - who may no longer be eager to replicate the home diva's lifestyle with all things Martha Stewart.
Lyne "did a great job dealing with the issues that arose in the wake of Martha Stewart's legal troubles," said David Bank, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets. But he expressed concern that a challenging environment has stalled the company's growth and could dampen stores' willingness to sign up for big-scale deals like the one recently forged with Macy's Inc. and Costco Wholesale Corp.

Last year, Martha Stewart unveiled an exclusive home-furnishings collection with Macy's as part of a multiyear deal; it also signed a multiyear deal to develop a cobranded line of frozen and fresh food with Costco, which started to be rolled out late last year.

Another issue is whether shoppers will be willing to spring for Martha Stewart pots and pans as they scale back on nonessential purchases.

"They are certainly staying at home more, but that doesn't mean they are reupholstering their couches and buying new sheets or pillows for their beds," said Wendy Liebmann, president of WSL Strategic Retail, a marketing consultancy. Still, she said that the company's product diversification - from crafts and food to discount and upscale merchandise - gives it at an advantage.

Executive reorganization: The New York-based media empire said that Wenda Harris Millard, 53, who is currently president of media at Martha Stewart Living, and Robin Marino, 53, president of merchandising, would be co-CEOs.

The company also announced in a regulatory filing Wednesday that it will form an advisory committee, called the office of the chairman, to focus on the strategic direction of the company. The committee will be comprised of the two new co-CEOs, Chairman Charles Koppelman, Chief Creative Officer Gael Towey and the company's founder, Martha Stewart. Stewart has been back in the limelight with her own TV show and other projects since March 2005, when she completed her five-month prison sentence for lying about a stock sale.

"While there is never a perfect time to depart, the company is on sound footing and we expect the transition to be very smooth," Lyne, 58, said in a statement. Lyne, who is also stepping down as president, will remain a director and an adviser for 30 days.

Lyne was unavailable for an interview, but Koppelman told The Associated Press that Lyne, who replaced Stewart's longtime confidante Sharon Patrick in November 2004, felt that "her job was completed." He added she had brought back profitability and re-energized its brands.
Future strategy: Koppelman acknowledged an overall tough environment but said he believes that the company's diverse offerings make it "recession-proof." "We are positioned to be almost everywhere the economy is going," he said.
To fuel growth, Martha Stewart Living is exploring international opportunities for its magazines and its merchandise, Koppelman said. The company's television programs air in more than 70 countries. The company is also looking to replace longtime partner Kmart, whose contract ends in 2010, with another low-price operator, but company executives declined to be specific. Kmart's contract began in 1997.
Martha Stewart Living (MSO) swung to a profit of $10.3 million, or 20 cents per share, in 2007, from a loss of $17 million, or 33 cents per share, in 2006. Revenue rose 14% to $327.9 million, helped by improvements in its broadcast, publishing and merchandising divisions.

Marino noted that Martha Stewart Living's home-products collection that is being sold exclusively at Macy's (M, Fortune 500) is beating sales expectations. But she noted that the full rollout of its food line with Costco (COST, Fortune 500) is taking longer than expected because of the complexities of developing the recipes.

Kmart's woes have limited Martha Stewart's growth, and the company has stopped producing its women's lifestyle magazine called Blueprint, launched in the spring of 2006.

The company has lost three-quarters of its value during Lyne's tenure, with its shares falling from a high of about $37 in February 2005 to below $8. Shares fell 48 cents, or more than 6%, to $7.50 in late afternoon trading Wednesday.

Millard, who joined the company last July, was previously chief sales officer of Internet company Yahoo Inc. (YHOO, Fortune 500).

Marino was president and operating chief of accessories maker Kate Spade until she joined Martha Stewart Living in 2005.

In August 2006, Stewart - who abdicated her chairman and chief executive titles following her 2003 indictment - accepted a five-year ban as part of a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission on being a company director, and agreed to limits for the same period on her service as an officer or employee of a public company. When asked whether Stewart would reclaim her title as chairman when the ban is lifted, Koppelman responded, "Martha is happy to be founder."

Courtesy of the Associated Press

Monday, June 9, 2008

Martha to Appear on "The Next Food Network Star"

Food Networks reality series "The Next Food Network Star" is having record breaking ratings this year. With an diverse and interesting group of contestants, the Food Network has taken the competition to new heights this year.

On Sunday, June 15 Martha Stewart will be joining the panel as a guest judge. From the previews shown during the show last night, the challenge set for the contestants will be to create a packaged food item (ala Kirkland Signature?). In the preview, we see Martha in a deadpan stare say to one of the contestants, "I don't eat food like that..." It makes you wonder what happened!

The Next Food Network Star, now in it's third season takes potential stars through a series of food related challenges designed to demonstrate their ability to not only prepare; but create and present delicious food that reflects their philosophy of cooking. The challenges also give insight into contestants attitudes, ability to handle pressure, and camera star quality.

You can catch The Next Food Network Star on on the Food Network on Sunday evenings. Check your local listings for air times in your area.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Martha Visits Ford Mansion

Martha Stewart was in the Detroit area last week to announce a move in her daily syndicated show, "The Martha Stewart Show." After 12 years on WXYZ-TV (Channel 7) her show will be moving to WJBK-TV (Channel 2) in the Fall. On a personal note, this is quite a surprise. WXYZ has always won the time slot ratings from 10-11 a.m. with the Martha show. The Detroit market has always held one of the highest rating averages for the Martha Stewart Show as well as the previous Martha Stewart Living show.

While in town, Martha visited the Edsel and Eleanor Ford mansion in Grosse Point Shores. She toured the mansion, the elaborate gardens as well as the 'play house' on the grounds. Martha was said to be interested in the Detroit mansion since her home in Maine, "Skylands" was once the summer home of Edsel and Eleanor. In the photo, Martha is standing with Ellie Ford (center) and Lynn Ford Alandt. (photo courtesy of the Detroit Free Press)

Green Viewing

Discovery Home channel has gone green. Totally green. It is now the "Planet Green" network.

Planet Green is the first and only 24-hour eco-lifestyle television network with a robust online presence and community. Launching in June 2008, on-air content will reach 50 million homes with more than 250 hours of original green lifestyle programming. Both online and on-air, Plant Green's content is entertaining, relevant, and accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds. By representing a broad range of ideas and perspectives, Planet Green is taking an active role in generating conversation and motivating individuals to take action when it comes to improving the environmental status of our planet.

That mission extends online at and on their sister site, is filled with solutions-oriented tips and information that can help you make your life a little (or a lot) greener. The eco-minded community includes fan sites, articles about how to go green, and forums where users can interact. With expert advice and info from our on-air personalities such as Sara Snow, Annabelle Gurwitch, Emeril Lagasse, and Steve Thomas, plus our team of eco-savvy writers, Planet Green is your user's guide to living mindfully on this big blue marble we all call home. Experts will help you navigate the options for detoxifying your home, life, and planet - without the jargon or the guilt trips - so you can start being the change you wish to see in the world. Passionate, positive, and always practical, Planet Green is bursting with smart tips and inspiring advice.

Check your local digital cable listings to find Planet Green.

More From the Garden

It seems as though each and every day the gardens change. Here are a couple more shots of the garden taken on Saturday.

The Four O'clocks are blooming. Here are a few among the candy stripe roses. Four O'clocks spread like crazy. I find them springing up all over the place. They do provide a great 'bright spot' in any garden. You can also see a couple very healthy Black Eyed Susan plants on the left. They will bloom in another month or so.

The Peonies are in maximum bloom now. With the heat and rain we've been experiencing, they all bloomed within a couple days and they are already beginning to fade out. I wish Peonies lasted longer. Several were cut for a gorgeous arrangement in the house.

This is an interesting character in the garden. It's a wild shrub rose that one day appeared in the garden. I was reading on another blog about an invasive wild rose that sounded very similar to this one. I wonder if...?? It has taken over a corner of one of the gardens. The blooms are very delicate white blossoms that resemble an apple blossom. It only blooms once a year, but seems to be resistant to any type of typical rose diseases such as black spot. Once the blooms are spent, it will remain lush and green - providing great texture contrast.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Things Happen For A Reason Update!

Great news! The animal rescue is going to take care of the cats that belong to Annette's sister! The cats are free to stay at the rescue in the wonderful cat community room until such time a foster family can be found. I'm thrilled with the news!

I've spent a portion of my day on the radio. I was in the car this morning and the morning hosts of "Morning Living" Kim and Betsy were discussing the strange, yet wonderful "connection" that happened yesterday with Tracie, myself, Annette and the cats. They were interviewing Tracie at the time and I called in and Kim did a quick interview with me. It was wonderful. Annette I'm sure was feeling the love from all around!

I did speak with Annette this afternoon and we'll be making arrangements to transfer the cats to the shelter this coming week. As we were hanging up the phone, she said, "I feel like I've made a new friend..." I was so touched. Indeed, Annette, a new friendship has begun. I'm honored to be that friend.

I will be posting photos from time to time and blog updates here for Annette to read and share.

I love how the world sometimes works. I've been floating on cloud nine all day knowing that I helped find a solution.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Things Happen For A Reason...

Today, something happened that makes you stop for a moment and say, "hmmmmm."

I was traveling between hospitals today and stopped at home for a quick lunch. I fixed a quick snack and checked my home email to find a correspondence from Tracie Hotchner, the host of "Cat Chat - The Radio Show."

A listener called in today during her appearance on "Morning Living" seeking some assistance with two cats that belonged to her sister. She (the caller) was looking for a foster family for the cats while her sister was temporarily living in a specialized living situation due to some medical conditions. When Tracie heard where the caller was from (Michigan) she didn't know if we were close in proximity, but suggested that the caller contact me, and through the animal rescue, perhaps the cats could be placed in a foster home. The caller followed up once she arrived at work with an email to Tracie because she couldn't remember the name of the rescue Tracie had mentioned. Tracie emailed her back and cc'd me on the email.

I immediately emailed Tracie and the caller (her name is Annette) and without even a moment of hesitation told them both I would do what I could to help. I gave Annette my cell phone number and we spoke by phone this afternoon. I was so moved by her story. Annette is highly allergic to cats and cannot take them in. She doesn't want the cats destroyed because she knows that one day her sister will get better and be able to live on her own again... the cats are such an important part of her life. She knows it would be so beneficial to have them with her sister once again.

As it turns out, she works in Ann Arbor, with Domino's Pizza, Inc. as assistant to the CEO. Her office isn't too far from mine and she lives rather close to the shelter. I promised Annette that I would do all I could to find a wonderful home for the cats. Annette assured me that she would pay for all the food, medical expenses (if any) and any other incidental expenses related to the care of the cats.

I went into action. I emailed the board of the directors of the rescue to seek their assistance. Everyone is working feverishly to find a home for these deserving cats. I'm so humbled to be part of a solution to this problem. I hope we can place the cats within a week. We only have a two week window to work with before other, less desirable options take place because her sisters home will need to be vacated.

It's funny how things happen and why things happen. When Tracie heard this caller, she thought of me. I (luckily) have some great resources available to me and through those resources I know we'll find a home for the cats. In a small way I can help someone else. What's so interesting is that the caller (Annette) is actually so close to me.. small world, indeed.

I get a little teary when I think about all this. Stroke of luck, or something else? I can't even begin to imagine the 'odds' of it being just luck.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Roses Bloom!

Here are a few of the roses (and other flowers) that bloomed in the garden today.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Martha Stewart's Green Living Television Special

From basic steps of composting to delicious ideas for preparing organic foods, Fine Living Network’s special, Martha Stewart’s Green Living, is an inspiring hour filled with sensible tips and practical solutions for leading a more balanced life. Join Martha Stewart as she explores two of our nation’s environmental success stories, and learn some clever ways that we can all help better our planet and our lives, one simple act at a time. Martha Stewart's Green Living will air on Saturday, June 21st, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time.