Animals Culture Humor Medical/Technical My Family Photography

Winston’s Visit to the Vet

Winston went to the vet yesterday and just a few minutes ago posted about the trip on his page here.

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News from Sir Winston

I’ve told you before how gracious and generous are the Pastor Robert Allen family, but their generosity almost excelled itself when Sister Allen said to Chloe, “Would you like one of the Shih Tzu pups?” I wasn’t there when they had the conversation, but a few hours later I learned of the potential gift when I too was offered one of the little dogs.


“You’re giving me one of the puppies?” I asked.

“Yes, we often give one to our friends who are in ministry.”

That night I met Sir Winston and Milo . . . and my life has forever changed, for how could I look into such a face, and say, “No, thank you.”

Chloe called her dad for permission. Her dad said, “Yes, but we’ll keep it a secret from your mom,” thus arose the need to delay the earth-shattering news. She picked Milo, a tiny little fella with a beautiful white face.


It was Friday night when we met the pups, and Jerry had said yes, I could have the remaining puppy. I hesitated for all the reasons I’ve mentioned previously.. . . but when we pulled away from Tucson we had two beautiful pups in a big cardboard box and were on our way to Lake Havasu where Mike and Mel were preparing dinner for us. Chloe and I had plans. We stopped at a WalMart the other side of Phoenix for we had to lay in supplies for our babies. Jerry kept Sir Winston in the car: ImageChloe tucked Milo in her purse and nearly caused a riot in the pet section when several people spotted him, called their relatives to see, and even had their picture taken with him. (We’ve learned since that we shouldn’t take them out in public yet, for they are too young for their shots, and they might pick up a disease.)

Chloe and I hid our pups behind our backs when we arrived at Mike’s, said, “1, 2, 3” and then popped out Milo and Sir Winston. Mike grinned . . . laughed . . . and called Melina to come see. We had bought puppy shampoo, so before dinner Chloe and I gave our babies their first bath.


Jerry had preached in Lake Havasu Sunday, we drove home Monday, and by Tuesday afternoon, we had arrived in San Diego, and all the family had been introduced to Sir Winston and Milo. Shawnna was totally surprised, but excited.

From everything I’ve read and with conversations with other puppy owners, I’ve come to think Sir Winston is an exceptional dog. Excuse me while I brag.

1. Yesterday at Pet’s Mart, I bought a kennel for him. With no difficulty at all, he slept in it last night, by the side of our bed. He had his last potty trip at 10;00 . . . and slept without a sound until 5:00 am!

2. He almost never whines . . .

3. When I take him to the back deck, he immediately pees, but to finish his job, he wants to run around and sniff here and there. Our deck is one story high with open sides, and every day he walks a little faster, and I’m afraid he’s going to fall off the deck. So, today, Jerry and I made him a private bathroom. He does not like puppy papers, rather prefers the outdoors. To accommodate both his needs and his wishes, his area has many leaves, dirt, and other plants. I’ll probably put a paper out there, to help him get used to it for the days when freezing rain is falling and he will be forced to such a lowly thing! (He’s just much too elegant for plastic puppy papers; rather he needs a portion of God’s green, cool earth.:) )


Early this morning, Sir Winston got lost. I had been playing with him for about an hour, could tell he was tired and was probably ready for a nap. I worked on my computer for a few minutes, then looked around for him, and he was gone. Gone! I mean. I called, looked under chairs, couches, in the bathrooms, under beds . . . calling all the time. I could not find him. I even went outside, called there. Nothing. Finally I went to the bedroom where Jerry was still asleep. “You didn’t come in here and get Winston, did you?”

“No,” he said as he roused and began to dress.

Sir Winston likes to sleep under my green chair in the dining room. I had looked carefully under there, had even run my hands around on the floor to feel for him. Nothing. Now, I retraced my steps, and decided to move the chair completely out. There. There on the bottom shelf of the bookcase, tucked way far back, he was curled fast asleep.

“You little rascal,” I said as I gathered him up. I took him to Jerry and said, “Winston has been a bad boy.”

I said that two or three times as Jerry was rubbing the thick black and white coat of little Sir Winston, then Jerry quietly said, “Shirley, you’ve scolded him enough.” I smiled inside.

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Lunch at Las Cuatro Milpas in Barrio Logan

As the seagull flies, Barrio Logan is a short distance from Balboa Park (the magnificent place in San Diego I recently wrote about here): As regards ambiance, Barrio Logan is as far removed from Balboa Park as is earth from the backside of Venus. The intrigue of both places is immense–at least to me, but then you might want to know I’m attracted not only to such doings as elegant dining, the viewing of remarkable architecture, and the hearing of music as it soars from symphony orchestras, but to “hole-in-the wall” eating joints, street banjo players, and the wandering down nondescript alleyways. More than once Jerry has said to me, “Shirley, you’re going to get yourself in trouble one of these days.” (Or sweet and caring words to that effect.)

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Las Cuatro Milpas

is located at 1875 Logan Avenue in the region of San Diego called Barrio Logan and has existed in all its glory in that very location since the year 1933. The rare eating place has been owned and operated by the same family since its opening day. A limited, but exceptionally tasty, menu includes, among a few other things, tamales, steaming bowls of beans with chorizo, rice, fresh tortillas, either chicken or pork tacos, and salsa so hot your tongue will mistake itself for a fireplace lighter. The place is highly recommended by food critics, and its clients include tourists who have been so lucky as to learn of the place, business people from downtown San Diego, and the “regular people” who live in the fair city on the bay. You walk through the door, read the menu high to the right of you, order, then move down a ways, pay the cashier, pick up a tray with your food on it, and select one of the picnic tables where you will sit to entangle yourself in some of the finest Mexican food known to man!

We used to live in San Diego and have been going to Las Cuatro since our children were babies. The place was so small then, I believe there was one–might have been two–picnic tables, and there were no lines. From the visible pop case we’d choose our bottled drinks and order our tacos and beans. Couple of dollars would be the charge–maybe three.

untitled (4 of 23)Now, every day, every single day, lines lead from the front door, down the sidewalk, and sometimes turn the corner and head down the next block. We waited about twenty minutes on Friday, I believe.

untitled (6 of 23)A grocery store operated by the same family used to be here, but now some of the walls have been knocked out to make additional space for more picnic tables, and no longer does the store exist.

“I’ll find us a table,” I said to Steve when we reached the door and could now order, and we wanted to sit in the kitchen, and I was lucky enough to find us a spot.

untitled (11 of 23)It is the same kitchen. The same. The one they began with.

untitled (12 of 23)Take a look at the mixer. That apparatus beside the mixer that resembles an old wringer washing machine actually makes the tortilla mixings into round balls, that are then patted out by hand.

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untitled (17 of 23)A few hours before, we had met Pastor Ron Willis who had flown in from Fort Wayne, Indiana and he had joined Steve, Jerry and me for lunch. He was ecstatic from the first bite.

untitled (19 of 23)“Do you have Mexican food in Fort Wayne,” I asked him.

“Not like this,” he burbled, grinning widely.

One of the sisters of the family sat at the other end of our table and filled us in on details of the family saga. She agreed that I could take her picture.

untitled (20 of 23)“Did you work here when you were little?” Jerry asked her.

“Did I work? Everybody worked. If we wanted to eat, we worked,” she sweetly, but firmly replied.

As I scouted out a place for us to eat, and had walked into the kitchen area, I saw a couple of pigeons pecking about in the flour on the tile floor. I guess they’ll be shooing them out any time, I thought, but I was wrong, for the women working back there gave no heed to the birds, and the pigeons with red feet and beautiful iridescent blue heads scampered here and there, nibbling up lunch!

untitled (15 of 23)Three more things you need to know:

_____________1. Las Cuatro Milpas means the four wide fields. ( I think. πŸ™‚ )

_____________2. The flour tortillas warm from the grill are “just so” stretchy, with a slight floury feel . . .best anywhere.

_____________3. The restaurant uses up 300 pounds of flour every day.

A thing I need to know:

Have you eaten at Las Cuatro Milpas or a similar “joint”? I would love to hear about it. πŸ™‚

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The Gift of Shawnna

Although I could not see it, of course, I am sure that marked across my face was a map of bewilderment as the svelte young woman smiled and handed across the table a package.

“For you,” she said, her face fired with kindness and good will.

“Why? What is this?” I answered, as my hand reached in a tentative way to take the gift.

“It’s for you. Open it.”

I was puzzled. We were in a San Diego restaurant near the bay in National City with my son Andrew and his family. Earlier in the day we had spent several hours with them at their home, had left to go to our motor home for a while, then we would meet for dinner. My birthday was months past, it was not Mothers Day, nor our anniversary…….what was this?

“Open it,” Shawnna said.

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The gift was wrapped artistically in brown craft paper with a bow tied around of some kind of black floppy material. I began the unpeeling as everyone looked on, and it came to be one of the most touching gifts I have ever received. You must know the back story to understand.

During the earlier hours that we had spent at Andrew’s and Shawnna’s, I had been fascinated by a cookbook she owned, had looked at every page, and had taken the better part of an hour to copy down the recipe for yeast donuts, and for pizza dough. (Later, a discussion arose as to whether writing down such a recipe is a copyright infringement . . . but that issue must be reserved for another day. I may be guilty of breaking the law!)untitled (6 of 6)The book is fabulously illustrated and I was riveted by it. It happens that I follow the blog of Ree Drummond, the author of the great cook book, Food From My Frontier, and other books.

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I read the card first, then, . . . now in my hand, appearing as I tore away the brown paper was Shawnna’s beloved book. I weep now as I write, for also a part of the back story is that Shawnna and Andrew have gone through many rough years financially, in their ministry, and even physically. I know well of their struggles. I was deeply touched.

untitled (3 of 6)-2On occasion, a moment comes to us–a gleaming, a glow as from the cherished Northern Lights, or as brilliant flares from such as the Hope Diamond. It illuminates our soul and kicks away at the muck and darkness that fold about us as we trudge through life, then settles down into a deep permanent crevice in our brains. Kind of carried away by the mere gift of a used cookbook, aren’t you, I hear someone say, and resolutely I answer no, for of such moments is the beauty of this world revealed: Eden restored.

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Labor Day Escapades

I suspect few people actually consider the significance of the holiday we celebrated last Monday; I’m among the sorry group, although I did labor a bit, but mostly I meandered through the day with the subject of labor being quite removed from my mind.

Here in this area of the San Bernardinos, it is customary on Memorial Day weekend–and to a lesser extent on Labor Day weekend–for us inhabitants to engage in mountain-wide garage sales. Well, I invest in the customer side of the garage sales, for although we’re into our 13th year here in Crestline, the Buxton household has not once indulged in dragging our excess belongings to the driveway, arranging them on tables, and erecting a SALE sign. Nope, I gather up dollars, rev up our Jeep engine and tear down the streets following the poster board neon orange signs and the dream of finding a bargain or two, or perhaps even a treasure that calls to be ensconced somewhere in our domicile.

“I’ll be up around 8:30,” Rebecca had told me. While I waited for her to arrive, I baked a chocolate pie–her favorite–boiled potatoes in their skinny jackets, then chopped, and mustarded and mayonnaised until I had thrown together a great potato salad. Rebecca brought fresh corn and Jerry and Nathaniel whipped up to Stater’s for the ribs, which he labored over for several hours, utilizing a little smoker column Patrick had given him sometime back.

untitled (31 of 37)Rebecca is good for me; she’s of a slower, more deliberate nature–compliments of her Buxton genes–while I tend to tear around, flapping my wings and rushing about to get on to the next stop or the next project or the next event. We probably spent 30 minutes at the first sale site and had it not been for her I would have already been scouting out the next place. . . and would have missed the sweet, slow visit with the fine people who have a tiny shop featuring rocks, gems, and antiques on Alder Road in Crestline. They had popped up an outdoor tent featuring many items from their store, along with tables of clothes and miscellaneous items, including beautiful old bottles, some with rusted caps, and antique glass turned amethyst from the interaction of chemicals and sunlight.

untitled (27 of 37)“My name’s Pam,” said the female segment of the couple who owns the place, and before we left Rebecca had arranged to take a young boy she teaches up to a little class with Pam. Sweetest lady.

untitled (28 of 37)“May I take your picture?” I asked as I watched him wiring crystal droplets.

untitled (23 of 37)We moved on, did Rebecca and I on Labor Day, and I bought a couple of things, as did she, then on our way back to the house, she wanted to stop and look at a lawnmower she had seen when we first started out, and it seemed like a good deal, but she wasn’t sure, so she told the man, “I’ll send down my son and my dad to check it out,” and Jerry and Nathaniel drove to the place and for $60.00 bought a fine Craftsman power lawn mower, loaded it into our Jeep, then transferred it to their car when it was time for them to leave.

Oh yes! the meal. Turned out great, except after we had arranged the table on the back deck and were setting out the meat, here came the meat-eating bees, and because we didn’t want to fight with them, we gathered up and sat ourselves down in the dining room where we tore into the ribs. Delicious, smoky, succulent. “I’ll bring you one,” Rebecca had called over the front deck railing to Nancy across the street, and because they hadn’t yet cooked the chicken they had planned and we had extra ribs and everything else, we packed up the food and shared with our neighbors.

untitled (36 of 37)See this beautiful jacket. ALL CLOTHES $1.00 said the sign at Pam’s garage sale. “These jackets are probably not included in that, are they,” I asked her. “Yes,” she replied. “All a dollar.”

I’ve been wanting a brown leather jacket, this one fits me perfectly, is adorable, and cost one dollar! The bargain of the day. It is missing the front button, but I will buy a beautiful button somewhere . . . that will not match the sleeve buttons . . . but will be beautiful anyway. When you see me wear it, don’t mention the mismatch! Well, since I have already revealed the slight fault, I guess you might as well go ahead and finger the front button on the buttery leather jacket and then lift the sleeves and note the mismatch. Promise to smile.

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Mall Trip with Three Teenagers

The continuing saga of the teenage grandchildren’s visit took in a visit to Ontario Mills on Monday, a place that is touted as the largest single-story mall in the Western United States. It consists of a huge food court and 200 stores that cover 1,473,000 square feet! Right, you read that right: One million, four hundred and seventy-three thousand square feet! . . .Feet?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Did you say feet?

Maybe I should not have done this, but I had a terrible time restraining myself when we passed by this set of massage chairs. Later, as my own legs were yelping, I wished I could find these people and apologize–well, actually I wanted them to scoot over and share their place.

untitled (17 of 52)Before we actually entered the mall, just across the street, we took a quick duck into Tai Pan Trading. The boys weren’t too excited about prowling about a gigantic home decoration store, but they did fine, I believe, in entertaining themselves.

“Twenty minutes, that’s what we’re giving you, Granny,” Nathaniel ordered, and Gentry agreed.

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untitled (10 of 52)We shopped . . . and shopped . . . each trying to find the outfit they wanted, that fit, that was in Granny’s budget.

untitled (18 of 52)They laughed at belts that would almost reach around Gentry twice. Along the way we had picked up a couple of honorary grand-youngin’s that Patrick and Holly had dropped off.

untitled (45 of 52)Finally, many hours later, each of them had treasures in their hands, and we headed for the exit.

untitled (34 of 52)But one more thing: Those sweet youngsters gathered about me in that huge mall and as Rebecca operated the camera, they gave me a group hug! Love it!

Trekked all of them up to our home in Crestline, where we all fell out of the car totally exhausted. Even the youngsters complained of sore legs.

We prowled about the kitchen for food. The boys opened the Balderdash box and soon uproarious laughter came from the dining room. Pictures that will make you laugh are here.

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Our 57th

Seven years ago we celebrated our 50th with great festivities and, sadly, with a few sorrows. You might want to click on the link which will lead you to several posts about those special days. Part of the plan was that our dinner/celebration with many of our friends, Jerry would sing to meΒ I’ll Be Loving You, Always. What he did not know was that as a surprise I would join with him on the chorus.

untitled (1 of 1)…more years have passed and today we celebrate our 57th wedding anniversary. We’re spending a quiet day here, poked about in our gardens, and ate a simple breakfast. This evening we will go down the hill for a special dinner, and Saturday we’re also doing something special.

We’re long past the giddy giggling isn’t he cute, isn’t she a doll state, but are now deeply ensconced in enduring love and in steadfast devotion. It’s a rich place, safe, secure.

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The World’s Best Cooker

Some of my family have been visiting us here in Crestline, including Brady who is ten years old. Today I was polishing a lamp table on which rests a book in which house guests sometimes write notes.

untitled (12 of 12)I flipped through it and, on the last page, found this.

untitled (11 of 12)-2“Dear Granny. You are the best cooker in the world. That pork was so good and the corn. From Brady Buxton

A thing may appear simple and inconsequential to one person, but is called priceless by another. This page addressed to me sets among the latter category.

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Fathers and Sons

A father who has a son who says, “Let me pray for you Dad,” is blessed beyond description. If he has three who do so, it is as though rubies have been heaped about him, and he is a rare man, indeed.

A father who has a son who then says, “Pray for Shawnna and me, Dad” and then the two kneel before him, has been granted life in an elevated plane.

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Jerry’s Unbelievably Tough Verizon Samsung

I sprayed laundry spotter on the trousers, threw them into the washer, and ran it full of cold water. The next morning, I spun that water off, and at the end of that cycle removed Jerry’s trousers. There in the bottom of the washer was his phone, Verizon Samsung old school flip top. It had soaked all night in water, and now I had just spun it dry.

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From what I hear, Jerry is unusual in that he does not leave anything in the pockets of his clothes that need to be laundered. I never check his pockets. Mine? Those I always check, for I’m bad about leaving things in them. But he failed this one time, and now I had no doubt ruined his phone.

“Well, we’ll take the battery out,” Jerry untitled (3 of 8)said when I showed him the dripping phone, “and place the battery and the phone over the furnace vent.” We did that, then I recalled reading of placing water-besotted items in a untitled (1 of 8)bag of rice, so I dragged out a sack of rice and immersed the phone into its depths.

The next day, Jerry reassembled the phone, switched it on, and voila! the word VERIZON spread its beautiful self across the little screen. For a few days, water drops appeared under the glass, but finally they disappeared, and from the time that little Verizon baby has been turned back on, until this very moment, it works perfectly! Kudos to Verizon, to Samsung, and to all things old and tough.

untitled (7 of 8)Somewhere in a drawer in this house is a smart phone–a Blackberry. Jerry had quite an experience with it which I post about here. The original post of Jerry and the Blackberry has received more than 80,000 hits. You’ll probably want to take a look. πŸ™‚Β  I also have written about changes in telephone services since I was a child here and in this one titled Number Please. You might get a kick out of them.