Everything Else

Heart shaped hoya plants from alder and co via www.studiogblog.com

I’ve got a couple hours before the weekend begins in earnest so I am trying to squeeze in some creative work before I sign off.  This weekend I’m planning to get a few projects done (painting mostly) as well as some deep cleaning checked off the to-do list.  I am feeling the rapid dawn of spring – even though I still need to shovel the foot of snow that arrived on Wednesday from my front porch.   It must be the dripping icicles that are sending spring signals to my brain.  How about you? – I’ve read around that some people are planting seeds (in the Northwest) – that seems so crazy at the moment.  Is it spring in your world? If not, maybe you want to enjoy a few links.

’til Monday – Rochelle

Image Alder and Co

zippy greayer by rochelle greayer www.studiogblog.comI’m going way off topic here, but I am really (unexpectedly) struggling with something today.  I just dropped off my 21 month old dog to get neutered and I am a distracted mess.  It isn’t the surgery part (though I worry), but it is this nagging question about whether or not I should be doing this to my dog at all.

To back up a bit — I have had many pets in my life and all of them have been neutered.  All of them were shelter animals and it wasn’t an option to take them home without this procedure already done.  So I guess I never really thought twice about it and it was done before I really got to know the animal.  But Zippy is different.  He came from a breeder and the breeders were quite clear to me that they do not condone neutering (to use their words – “needlessly cruel and inhumane”).  In the face of this, I held off because after doing quite a bit of reading on the subject, I learned that the hormones that neutering deprives of a developing body can have lasting effects (it makes sense and offers a possible explanation for so many dogs with skeletal problems like hip displasia and bad knees, cancers and new diseases).  Early neutering has been linked to all sorts of issues including joint problems and dogs not developing as they naturally should.  The recommendation and advice I settled on was to wait until at least 18 months and then catch the ‘sweet spot’ before they turn 2 ( I honestly can’t remember the logic of the before two thing at the moment).  So here we are, and I made the appointment on a day last week when Zippy’s dominant traits were getting to me a little more than normal.

The deed is done (I am pretty sure) he has been at the vet since 9:15 and it is after 12 now.  So I know that there is no use trying to call the vet for a panicked last minute save – he is probably already in the recovery room.  But nonetheless, I can’t help but feel like I have done something regrettable and I wish I could take it back – but then I am not sure.

I told my young son about Zippy’s surgery today on the way to school and as he asked me many questions, I became increasingly rattled.  He didn’t understand ‘Why would we cut off a piece of Zippy’s body?’  ‘Won’t that hurt him?’ ‘Do testicles have to do with testing things?’ ‘Why don’t we want puppies?’ (on this piece I am quite ok — but the reality is that our dog doesn’t have a whole lot of contact with other dogs, and overpopulation is not an issue where I live -dogs are regularly shipped here from other parts of the country to be adopted- and we have no intent to breed him).  ‘Is it cruel and painful?’  and the final (said in a state of total confusion and some distress) ‘Why would we do this to him?’ (this is the one that just keeps playing in my head).

Is this really necessary?  Is this really what is best for the dog?  Take away the accidental pregnancy thing and all I have left is that it might calm him down a bit and maybe make him a little less alpha-ish — but by my readings on this is are all pretty questionable (as science goes) and it may have no effect at all.

I wonder, did we all grow up with so many constant reminders by Bob Barker to the point that we haven’t thought that maybe this isn’t the best thing anymore?  Is it one of those things we do (to our pets) because we are supposed to and after a time we forget the reason in the first place?  Our dogs don’t tend to run around un-leashed or unconfined by fences as much as they once did (at least not most — but if they did then I could see the point).  It also seems that maybe we might know more about development and hormones 30 years later that make me question our quickness to just cut it off without any expectation that this might come with other knock on health effects. I really don’t know.  Our vet seems to think it is a good idea but she also prescibes (pushes) all sorts of expensive drugs and treatments that clearly line up with the wall to wall advertising posters in the office (the billboard-ization of the vet office makes me grumpy).  I often wonder if I should view her not as a partner in maintaining my dog’s health and happiness but as an unwitting agent of veterinary phamaceutical and chemical company corruption.  Or maybe it still is the right thing to do and I am feeling horrible about this because I just do.   -Rochelle

P.S. I took this picture of Zippy about a month ago. The shot was driven largely by the fact that I was perfectly lined up capture his remarkable physical symmetry – and he was holding so still (a rarity).  He desperately wanted to go play soccer with the kids in the distance and just stared anxiously at them. As I flipped through my photo archives for a great shot of him to share, this one just seemed particularly apropos. 

image rochelle greayer

Oh, Charter (my Internet, TV, phone company)  how I loathe thee…..but must admit at least one small concession.   I have, until about an hour ago, been without Internet, phone and TV for over 24 hours.  Initially, I had withdrawals, but then, in the same amount of time that I would normally have spent prepping a couple more ‘before and after’ posts yesterday I got a whole ton of other (non-Internet) things done that I had been procrastinating.   I am sure I would have done them eventually, but certainly the forced down time helped.  So regardless, of the fact that I wasted my entire morning being outside, freezing, waiting for you (charter), not in the warmth of my own house, but at the end of my driveway  (because you suck so bad I can’t even trust you to not lie to me and to honestly come to my house and try to drive up my driveway at our given appointment time) at least yesterday was productive in a way I can be grateful for.  If my town is successful in that Google Broadband thing-y that they were applying for, you can be sure, that I will take final steps.  No more house phone, we can just use our cell phones, no more TV (Netflix, Roku and the lot are way better and cheaper) and no more you.  I am sure I can find other ways to make myself stop procrastinating.

I have been overwhelming my self with inspiration lately, between my blogging class and the subsequent explorations, my new “can you make this into a garden series” and other funny things creeping into my life (Walt Whitman poems and the sort). I have a few things I need to just post about and get out of my system…like the color blue and gypsies. When I get it out…maybe I can move onto other things…

I wanted to share with you a little personal improvement mission…I want this blog to continue to grow and flourish and I am happy for it to continue to take over my professional life. To that end, I have enrolled in a class that is being given by Holly Becker of Decor8. The class started this morning and will be running for the next 4 weeks. I have no idea what is in store, what I will take away from this, or what will make it to these pages – but I just wanted to share with you that I expect it will be something.
Already I am having small revelations…we were asked to introduce ourselves and this is what I wrote….

My Name is Rochelle and my blog is Studio ‘g’ . (http://studiog.greayer.com)
I am a mom of 2 (girl 6 and boy 3) and I live in Harvard, MA. My blog is an extension of my business, though since starting it 8 months ago, I have become increasingly interested in it becoming my only business (which is why I am here). I am a landscape designer, a career change I made 8 years ago while living in London, England (previously IT – Physics). Studio ‘g’ is a design blog about all things garden design, landscape design, and stylish outdoor living.
My house is sort of rural (though Boston is close), and we have a bit of land. My husband is a smarty pants guy that is obsessed with becoming a gentleman farmer and I his design obsessed wife. In addition to our 2 beautiful children, we have 2 cats (chuck – because that is the best name for a fluffy orange cat and Lyle- because as a kitten his bedraggled look reminded us of our fav. musician Lyle Lovett). We are expecting a flock of chickens and guinea hens to arrive any day which will officially launch us into the farmer realm. Oh – and I almost forgot to mention Steve and Lisa…2 peacocks that showed up beneath my kitchen window on my birthday 2 years ago and adopted us as their summer home (I am still trying to figure out what that omen meant). They are a bit territorial and we are not sure how our new friends will be received. Wish us luck.
I also started and manage a Farmers market in my town (which in its second year became the biggest in Central MA) and I am wanting to start a second blog with my farmers market co-horts that is all about our market and the crazy amazing place that it is, and all topics related to creating, managing, and having fun at a farmers market. It will be at http://www.farmersmarketblog.com but there is nothing there yet.

I am sharing here, because as I wrote this, I realized how different this is from what I have on my ‘about page’ and is somehow a bit more me (and a little less Rochelle – “the design firm principal”). And I thought it seemed odd to be saying this to a group of new online friends (my classmates) when I hadn’t made this introduction to you all my existing online friends.
And just to make it more interesting…I put together this little collage of my animal friends that you have now been introduced to. I think it is a key element to every great garden or property (or even business for that matter) to have a mascot. Mitchell Gold has Lulu. The Memphis Peabody Hotel has the Ducks. The Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston Has Katie the black lab….and now that I am writing…I can’t think of any more gardens with animal mascots….I know there are more….can you think of any??

Here are my garden mascots.
Chuck, Lyle, Steve and Lisa.
chuck lyle steve and lisa garden mascots

Just a reminder….today is the last day of the domino giveaway. You have until tonight to enter. I have worked up this image as my regular ‘give-away’ image. I love how the fireworks are just a profusion of flowers. So from now on, if you see this image…we are giving something away…

studio g blog giveaway give aways away

So as you can see it is up and running…my husband and  I have been working on it all weekend and I am well aware that there are many missing links at the moment…but that aside, I would love to hear what you think.

I will give a full tour when it is all linked back up…(hopefully tomorrow).