Rub a dub dub…

Charlie right after a bath...
Charlie right after a bath…

A little shake back and forth to fluff the hair…


Ta da! I wish that’s all I had to do!


Happy Saturday!


O N E   Y E A R   A G O…  Featured Artist… Brad Betts!

T W O   Y E A R S   A G O… Thanks to Paula Deen’s sons for a lighter fried chicken recipe!

Catch you back here tomorrow!


I think I’ve found where I want to live… finally!


I think I’ve found the place I want to live… Charleston, SC is great, don’t get me wrong. It’s picturesque, has lots of history, is filled with artists and galleries… but it’s hot. OH. SO. VERY. HOT. During the long summers we like to dream about places that we’ll move to that will be nice and chilly! I have finally found that magical place! It’s right here in this image. Snow (not the black icky icy/slushy stuff on the side of the road), nice deep snow, perfect for cross country skiing, or sledding. Big, beautiful “Christmas trees” everywhere with snow on the branches and lights in the trees! A church steeple would be nice too. I want to build a snowman, and walk with Fred and Charlie through the freshly fallen snow.

RRRRRRRTTTTTT! I know, that’s not how life is in the ‘snow’. I’m from Michigan, so I understand what you’re thinking. But I’ve been in South Carolina for 23 years, so my memory of the pain-in-the-heiny part of snow and driving is more of a distant memory. Yep, this is where I want to live if we ever move… and if this doesn’t work out… maybe Whoville??


Where is your dream place to live? Catch you back here tomorrow!

A few photos… Nikon Coolpix P510

I’ve been playing with the camera that I got for my birthday and I love it! It’s a sweet Nikon Coolpix P510 and it’s got oomph! A 42x zoom comes in handy for getting shots that would otherwise be missed. I’m looking forward to really putting this camera to the test! For now I’ve been playing with it in the house… snapping a few pictures here and there… like my trusty violet that does so well. This was given to us from a neighbor when we lost our dog Reginald. It has done so well. I think he’s helping it along, ha ha… I was trying to see where my limits were as to how close I can shoot…

I love these face forward shots in the sun with all the white, Charlie looks quite angelic doesn’t he? Ha ha… if only you knew…

Catch you back here tomorrow!

You See This Man? He Is The Love Of My Life!

You see this man? This man is the love of my life. When I first met him it was love at first sight. I thank God for him every single solitary day. I am so thankful to have met him, I still cannot believe it! Fate had me dog sitting for a friend at her house, when Fred pulled around the corner in his sporty BMW with a big smile on his face. I grabbed the puppy and had him leashed up in no time (didn’t know the dog had NEVER been on a leash, or had never gone for a walk…) and was taking him for a “walk”, that little puppy pulled me right into Fred’s driveway and sat at his feet. If that isn’t a sign… ha ha… That was Easter weekend 1991. I woke up on Easter and walked out to get the newspaper. I saw a large gift bag hanging on the front door. I thought to myself how lucky my friend was to get such a thoughtful gift on Easter. I set it on the dining room table. Walking back to the house after getting the paper I thought, hmmmm, WONDER IF IT COULD BE FOR ME?? Nah… Well?? Check the bag for a card… and there it was… To: BARBARA, whaaaaaat?????? A huge stuffed Easter bunny in the bag so beautifully presented. What a wonderful beginning… we have been together ever since the day we met. I cannot imagine my life without Fred. He’s wonderful in every single way.

Today we’ve been married for 20 (TWENTY!) years. It seems like just yesterday we were planning to meet at the chapel. That we were both nervous and hopeful that all of our planning would work out as we had hoped. Fred was at the church washing windows early that morning. He wanted everything to be perfect. And it was!

We had the best time at our wedding. That was too much fun! We had the best honeymoon ever tucked away in a cabin in the woods. It was magical.

I hope you have found someone who captures your heart and makes you smile. I am so fortunate to have a husband who is truly my best friend AND the absolute love of my life bar none. I consider myself the luckiest woman in the world! I would take this kind of love over any amount of money or any other possible “possession”. Things are things. Things can be replaced. You tire of “things”.

I will never tire of Fred.

He is hands down the sweetest man I have ever met.

August 22, 1991

So thank you for coming into my life Fred, here’s to the next twenty years… and twenty after that! I love you so much… Barbara

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Birthday candles, AARP and a Colonoscopy!

You guessed it… Today I am 50! Hard to believe, because I don’t think I act like I’m 50. Actually to say “fifty” out loud sounds so foreign to me, it actually makes me laugh, which is better than crying, ha ha… Hey, I look forward to the future, 50 is the new 30 (and all you young people reading this that just rolled your eyes… Just wait, you go from 30 to 50 in the blink of an eye, time accelerates as you get older, I’m sure you’ve heard your parents, grandparents or any random older person say that at one time or another. I’m here to say. IT’S TRUE! So be happy for every day you have on earth…)!

Yep,  FIFTY birthday candles… enough to start a fire! Need a fire extinguisher nearby! Trying to think on the bright side… AARP. I can be a member now! Woohoo! Hey, I am excited about senior discounts now! If ya can’t beat ’em, join ’em, right? Did you know at age 55 you can get a free coffee from Dunkin Donuts? Get outta here! At 50 you can get a discount at Banana Republic (maybe because they know very few 50 year old women can fit in their clothes?)!

And oh yeah… the biggest birthday gift that you can give yourself… a colonoscopy! Help me out, I’m trying to think positive here… A good way to lose weight? I have a “consultation” soon.. Yippeeeee… I’ve read enough about it, am a tad worried I may starve to death, and NO MILK OR CREAM the day before, oh heavy sigh…. I can handle no food, but no cream means no coffee. That my friends, isn’t going to be pretty! I guess if that’s all I have to worry about, I’m doing great!

I know it’s going to be a fabulous birthday, Fred always makes sure of that. I love my birthday present, a Nikon Coolpix p510 with a 42x zoom, can’t wait to get it to Maine! WOOHOO!

Have a happy day and I’ll catch you back here tomorrow!!


A quick and tasty dessert for a hot blistery day!

How is this for a nice tasty dessert on a day that is so hot and steamy? The temperatures are brutal throughout the country… so once in a while you need a little treat… something quick and easy, and SOOO good!

I bought some fabulous ice cream cones at EarthFare, they’re organic, I bought these because I didn’t want all the other unpronounceable ingredients… these had REAL ingredients, and they are C H E A P, no sugar and barely a calorie!

That along with some good ice cream and WELLA! A treat that can’t be beat! Sometimes a little cone just makes the day even better! This is a fast and fun dessert that will make your tastebuds smile!

Enjoy!  Catch you back here tomorrow!

A beasty birthday!

The birthday boy, Charlie!

H A P P Y  3 R D  B I R T H D A Y  C H A R L I E !

It’s Charlie’s 3rd birthday today, boy how time flies! If you would like to be entertained by a funny blog accounting for the first year of LIFE WITH CHARLIE, click the link). Initially I created this blog because the only time Charlie would sleep is when I was sitting in my desk chair at the computer. He would curl up behind me and fall into a deep peaceful (for me) sleep… so I created a blog to vent entertain myself, then Charlie started getting people who wanted to know what was going on each day, it was a hoot… after a year he calmed down and I stopped the blog, but it was a great year!

Preparation for Charlie’s birthday hat photo shoot!

Charlie is going to have (another) good day! He’s been so much fun these past several years, here’s to many many more Charlie! May your birthday candles never blow out : )
Have a great day and I’ll catch you back here tomorrow!

Featured Artist… Michael Baum!

“Manitou Meadow” by Michael Baum


Michael Baum is an extremely talented artist located in the Manitou Springs area of Colorado. I was happy to find Michael on Facebook. Another artist had commented on one of his paintings, which is how I saw his work. Ahhh, the magic of Facebook, eh? I later saw photos that Michael posted of the fires in Colorado. It broke my heart… so much devastation. Evacuating, coming home, evacuating… some not coming home to anything at all… Can. You. Imagine? Thoughts and prayers go out to everyone dealing with this and to those who are fighting it… As I write this (Friday, June 29) I see that there was a break in the heat (down to the 90 degree temps and the wind was down to 10mph, which allowed firefighters to begin to get an edge up on this massive fire. I pray that continues. HERE is the link to Michael’s photos and first hand account of what’s happening in his area. So far, his house is OK…

Here’s a blip about Michael from his website – you can tell he’s a nice guy by his bio alone!

“Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1950, my first home was a trailer traveling from Oklahoma to Ohio, where my family settled. I was always drawing or painting (dinosaurs mainly). Most years, we would take driving vacations to Florida or Michigan, or go camping at the local parks. These experiences are among my fondest memories and set the course my life would take.

 In the late 1960s and early ’70s, I attended Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, studying psychology, anthropology, and art. In 1973 I earned a BFA in fine art. 

I came to the West over 30 years ago, drawn by its spectacular landscapes. I pursued thelandscape in art through a variety of styles and media, now working exclusively in oil. 

 I love getting out on the road and exploring the country, being overwhelmed by its grandeur and amazed by its subtlety. I love painting the landscape, whether I do it right there on the spot or
later back in the studio. It is a wonderful challenge to try to recreate the essence of a place with paint and canvas.”

Michael Baum specializes in contemporary representational paintings of the western and southwestern landscape. 
He is represented in many private, corporate, and public collections nationally and internationally.

Michael lives and works in Manitou Springs, Colorado.

Catch you back here tomorrow!

How to brighten up the front of your house for only $29.98!

American Flag Kit from LOWE’S.… ($29.98)

I’m always talking about how I love an American flag in a painting… makes it pop. Makes it, uh… as American as apple pie… So as I peruse art websites via my computer I am always delighted to find a painting that I love that includes a flag… then I thought… WHY DON’T WE HAVE A FLAG? That same flag that makes the houses “pop” in paintings could do the same for ours… so we headed to Lowe’s (why Lowe’s? Because LOWE’S KNOWS VALUE… hee, couldn’t resist that)! We headed to the flag display, and picked out one that is sewn and not just printed. Nothing wrong with printed, I just like the look of the sewn ones better and they seem to be a little thicker, therefore they should hold up a little longer.

This is the house before the flag…

Recently I mentioned that we installed a gas lantern, well to put the lantern where we wanted it we had to move the enamel house numbers to a different spot… Now that we want to hang a flag, guess where I really wanted it…? Where the numbers were… SO… the numbers got moved yet again so that the flag had it’s own spot. Whew! That was fun!

And this is the TA-DA… house after the flag…

So if you want to brighten up the front of your house and have a few bucks to spare, head to your neighborhood hardware store and pick up an American flag!

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Let me start of by saying how thankful I am for having such an awesome mom. She’s the coolest of all moms, funny, sweet, loving and strong. Very, very strong. I bet she doesn’t realize that (do you mom?)… Anyone that can get through cancer is a tough cookie, and to go through it with a great attitude is a big accomplishment, as well as being such an inspiration. I think I’m going to start calling my mom “Grace”… she’s got lots of it!

I’m also thankful for my mother-in-law. I know there are the standard jokes about mother-in-laws being dragon ladies… I lucked out (again) and got a super sweet lady, just like me, hee…

I know some of you no longer have your moms… I’m so sorry, holidays can be so tough. I hope you are able to keep your mom in all your good thoughts. You do know she can still hear you when you talk to her, right? That’s a small comfort…

Lots of you are mom’s… hard work no doubt. Personally, I’m a dog mom. The cards didn’t fall in my favor with the ‘having a kid’ thing, so Mother’s Day has it’s moments for me as well… But I am Charlie’s mom (woof)… and I’m a good dog mom, ha ha… (PSSST, Charlie you’re a lucky dog!)

H A P P Y  M O T H E R’ S  D A Y ! ! !

Come on Charlie, lets go play in the sprinkler! Catch you back here tomorrow!

Vintage Image via:

Photo: Sun streaming through a downtown Charleston gate…

Easter was a nice day. Ate too much. Got home and needed to move, otherwise I was going to fall into a coma. Fred and I went downtown and walked around and took photos. I was lost in the photo-taking moments, and we walked for over an hour, it was nice! Felt good to move AND we got a few neat shots. This photo of a gate on Legare Street reminds me of Heaven’s gate, although I always pictured it would be bigger, ha ha…

Have a good day, catch you back here tomorrow!

Downton Abbey… addictive!

Downton Abbey – Series 1 

Well, we’re finally getting with it… we started watching Downton Abbey – Series 1 last night. I wasn’t sure about this… I had reservations… IT. WAS. AWESOME. To see how the very wealthy live is quite interesting… can you imagine having such a large staff just for you and your family? The trials and tribulations, the way the workers treat each other (poor Bates!), the way the family treats each other AND the workers… it’s encapsulating… you just can’t stop watching! Rent it, borrow it from the library, get it from Netflix, just watch it! You don’t want to miss out! Here’s a little blip from the PBS website:

The Downton Abbey estate stands a splendid example of confidence and mettle, its family enduring for generations and its staff a well-oiled machine of propriety. But change is afoot at Downton — change far surpassing the new electric lights and telephone. A crisis of inheritance threatens to displace the resident Crawley family, in spite of the best efforts of the noble and compassionate Earl, Robert Crawley (Hugh Bonneville, Miss Austen Regrets); his American heiress wife, Cora (Elizabeth McGovern); his comically implacable, opinionated mother, Violet (Maggie Smith, David Copperfield); and his beautiful, eldest daughter, Mary, intent on charting her own course. Reluctantly, the family is forced to welcome its heir apparent, the self-made and proudly modern Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens), himself none too happy about the new arrangements. As Matthew’s bristly relationship with Mary begins to crackle with electricity, hope for the future of Downton’s dynasty takes shape. But when petty jealousies and ambitions grow among the family and the staff, scheming and secrets — both delicious and dangerous — threaten to derail the scramble to preserve Downton Abbey. Created and written by Oscar-winner Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park), Downton Abbey offers a spot-on portrait of a vanishing way of life.

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Featured artist… Tom Soltesz!

“Down The Street And Across The Bay” by Tom Soltesz

I ran across Tom’s work years and years ago… I was on a California plein air website and there were so many artists it was hard to fathom! When I looked at his work I fell in love with it!  I love his bold strokes and his subject matter. He did a painting of some trees in Muir Woods years ago that was just out of this world! I still remember that painting. He’s got an interesting story… can you imagine KNOWING you’re going to be a professional artist at age 7? Yep, me either!

You’ll see on Tom’s website that he also give workshops. He even gives weekend workshops for $100! How tempting! Might be a great time for a little vacation to Califor-knee-eye-A!

A blip about Tom from his website:

 In 1954, Tom was born in a small coal-mining town in western Pennsylvania.  There were little or no cultural influences.  At the age of 7 Tom decided to become a professional artist.  He believed that to be an artist came naturally, and that involved little effort.  This was his first major misconception.  Living in a town of less than 5,000 he received little artistic training, and since Tom was from a family of 7 children, being sent to art school was out of the question.  Upon graduation from high school and being voted “most artistic” of his class,  Tom moved to Florida where he talked his way into a job painting billboards for Florida Outdoor Advertising.  In one year, Tom became their top pictorial artist.  After one more year Tom decided there was little chance of growth.  In 1974, he moved to Denver, Colorado and he enrolled in the Colorado Institute of Art where he received a degree in Advertising and Design.  He freelanced his way through college and graduated with a professional portfolio and since he still had the wonder-lust for travel, Tom moved to Manila, Philippines and started a graphic design studio.  He had by now become a painter/designer, and he worked in watercolors and designing logos, packaging, and ad campaigns for some of the biggest companies in South East Asia.  From Manila he moved to Hong Kong to manage the studio of a major designer.  Tom continued to paint and draw while he freelanced for various companies in both Hong Kong and the Philippines.  He was greatly influenced by the artists of the Philippines, both landscape and figurative, especially by the Philippine artist known by the name of Amorsolo.  Tom was asked to move to Papua New Guinea to upgrade the corporate image of San Miguel Beer Corporation, but since there were little social activities in New Guinea, he continued to develop his painting abilities.  In 1981 Tom decided to return to the U.S. and further educate himself as a painter.  He enrolled in the Academy of Art College in San Francisco and studied illustration and fine art.  Tom freelanced his way through the academy and graduated with knowledge of a variety of illustration and painting techniques.  He decided the only way to continue to paint in the various styles that he enjoyed, was to service a diversity of clients.  Tom started working with interior designers by supplying them with custom paintings, murals and screens, and he worked on hotels, restaurants, and residential projects.  He has been involved in projects in a number of countries and has supplied clients with room art custom painting, murals, and tromp L’oeil.  Tom is represented by numerous galleries in California.  His fine art oils are mainly landscapes and florals, however he also does figurative works.  Tom teaches plein air landscape painting, an Artist member of the California Art Club, and The Baywood Group of painters which is a socially active environmental group of landscape painters. Tom recently won “Best in Show” at the annual San Luis Obispo Plien air festival and an “honorable mention “at the 2005 Carmel art festival. Tom was recently featured in the April issue of South West Art magazine, and the April issue of The Artist’s Magazine 2007. Tom has many collectors in the United States and abroad and continues to develop into one of the most important landscape painters in the U.S.

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Photo: a balcony at the Island Inn, Monhegan Island, Maine…

Several years ago we stayed in a room at the Island Inn that had a balcony… it was a delight, sitting out there in your own chairs overlooking the most gorgeous view EVER! The room was nice, but much smaller (which is fine, we don’t spend much time in our room at all). We’ve tried all different rooms and all seem to be fabulous! This year we’ll be on the third floor, so that will be nice and quiet… and you get a bonus workout each time you walk the three flights to your room, ha ha… helps burn off all the tasty food… although it seems like all we do is hike, walk, well… and  e a t! This surprise shot showcases our little bag of treats on our porch… can’t remember what it was but i’m sure it was good!

Enjoy your Sunday… catch you back here tomorrow!

Photos: Time to act crazy with the sprinkler!

Well, it’s that time of year A L R E A D Y ! Time to play in the sprinkler… Time to get hosed off after your morning walk because it’s so warm… Crazy weather. Am hoping it doesn’t get any warmer (yeah, right!). It seems that everyone has weird weather right now. For most of us we simply cannot complain. It’s beautiful!

Ahhh, show those teeth Charlie! The beast gets a little crazy when he gets wet!

Ok, it’s time to calm down… time to go run laps I N S I D E the house… ahhhh… happy weekend!

Catch you back here tomorrow!