Last night I stood out on the patio when the pupsters went out and stared at the stark white tree branches jutting above the various buildings blocks away. They resembled skeletal hands reaching toward the sky.

I read that there’s a strong dog flu going around. Never heard of this. But even though Charlie’s fur is growing over his eyes and Abi looks like a fluff ball, they won’t be going to get groomed while this flu is a problem. Because I don’t want them around other dogs that might be sick.

I got out my box of receipts and wrote down the things I can deduct on my taxes, as I’m seeing my accountant on Thursday morning.

This is always an unwelcome chore and a scary couple of hours. Because the tax laws change every year and I never know what I’m going to owe to the state and federal government before I get out my checkbook.

I finished “The Good Daughter” by Karin Slaughter. What a thrilling and suspenseful read. I will be reviewing it soon.

I worked on my blog getting my book reviews in order.  I typically work on this blog on something or other off and on from around 8-9 a.m. until 4-5 p.m.

I’m always reading other blogs and thinking: Maybe I need to write more posts on DIYs or How-To’s or something. (Of course that would mean I’d actually have to create something, and I’m kind of in inactive mode right now.)

I’ve found that, for the most part, most of you seem to respond more positively to my posts that are like this one. The posts about my ordinary life.

I feel like my life is pretty boring.

But I like to take a survey about once per year to ask you what kind of posts you most want to read. So feel free to convey your feelings and suggestions in the comments. Your opinion may have changed since last year.

Yesterday I got mail from Healthcare.gov and BCBS.

One was a letter telling me they were reviewing my application, (which of course has been done and I already have the insurance.)

Another was a letter informing me that I need to pay my bill if I want my coverage to begin on February 1. (We already took care of that and reinstated it for January.)

And yet another letter informed me that they were pleased to inform me that my coverage began on January 1, 2018. This one was actually correct.

Friday I called BCBS just to make sure they had my premium payment coming straight out of my bank account.

And alas they did not. So I had to provide my bank information all over again. I emailed Katie and told her about it. She responded with: But I was on the phone with you a week ago when you already gave them that information.

There MUST be an easier way to provide folks with health insurance. But after all I’ve been through the past few weeks, I’m quite sure this country has yet to figure it out.

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96 Comments

  1. I look forward to your daily posts and enjoy reading about the things going on in your life. I love seeing your photographs of the pups, that frisky squirrel and the flowers as they come and go on your patio. I also keep a list of the books you review. I look for them when I go to the library. I don’t think you need to change what you are doing. Many of us love your posts and follow daily even if we don’t leave comments all the time.
    Sincerely,
    alice g.

  2. I just wanted to say I enjoy your blog so much just as it is! We have much in common I think. I’m an older retired woman living in a small place on a fixed income. I’m an introvert that loves to stay home, read a lot, tend to my home, dogs and garden. I’m not a crafter or much of a DIY person anymore either. I just don’t have the energy for it and my arthritis slows me down a lot these days. I did really enjoy when you did the small home tours. I always enjoy seeing new ideas on decorating a small place. Just keep doing what you’re doing, Brenda, I think it’s great!

  3. I look forward to your posts daily! Love the pics. Love seeing your decor and of course the pups. You are a part of my day. Thank you.

  4. I love your blog just the way it is. Cozy Little House is the only blog I read every single day. I may not comment much but I’m always here. Keep up the amazing work.

  5. I enjoy your posts just the way they are. Love seeing your apartment and patio, the flowers, the pups, hearing about your life, the ups and the downs, which we all have some time or another. Love the book reviews and hearing all about your reads. Like the post above, It’s like having a window into your world. But, should you change, and write about something else, I’ll still be here reading. Thanks again, for taking time out of your day, to “talk” to all of us…You share a gift with your words to us all.

  6. As you say, Brenda, this country, ie., the people who run it haven’t figured out a lot of things! My daughter who’s in her mid-thirties said the other day after some sort of frustrating snafu at her office, that she thinks everyone who holds a position of authority or power in this country is stupid. A very sweeping statement but sometimes you wonder. Our government and institutions just don’t seem to embody any common sense as well as being totally out of touch with us “common folks” and our concerns. Can’t think about it too long or it pulls you down into a depressive funk! I very seldom listen to the news these days. Too ludicrous and depressing.

    You are really wise to not take the pupsters out among other dogs. You don’t need those little babies to get sick, for sure.

    In regard to your posts, I enjoy most anything you write about whether it be practical or more introspective. I did really enjoy the posts that had to do with decor in your little place. For example the new floral paintings that you got and deliberated about where to hang. I always enjoy your photos and discussions about plants and flowers. It may seem to you like it’s just routine day-by-day topics, but In some ways it’s always interesting to have a little window into someone else’s day-by-day life. Just to learn how they do things, their likes and dislikes and sometimes their deepest thoughts and desires. Perhaps we all need that kind of connection with a few others in our lives.

    I don’t know if that “critique” is helpful but there it is!

    Take care!

  7. It may be everyday life to you but it isn’t to your readers. You find beauty and peace in every day and it encourages me to do the same. Thank you!

  8. I love your blog! I love the descriptive way you write. I love hearing about your day, the pupsters, your patio garden; I just enjoy your blog. You are so down to earth, and I think of you as a good friend. Thank you so much for all you do.

  9. I love your posts. No putting on airs, no pretending to be someone you’re not. I believe the blog world could use more bloggers like you.

  10. I enjoy all your posts. Especially the gardening, small space decorating and everyday life ones. You are not boring. I appreciate how you share your life, good and bad, with us. Reading your posts is like visiting with a friend. Please don’t stop.

  11. I like the variety but your boring life is not boring to me. Your blog is thoughtful and some days is just the thing to remind me that life is different for everyone. The book reviews are enjoyable and they are well written. Some I’ve read and others I’ve added to my list. I enjoy looking when you decorate because it always looks good and I just don’t have the energy to do that anymore.
    Have a great day and stay away from all forms of the flu!

  12. For me, your blog is unique and fine just the way it is. I look forward to it every day. Even my husband “knows” you by name and will often ask me – “What did Brenda have to say today?” Of course, he is not interested in decorating but I do talk about your slice-of-life commentaries with him. I don’t share your taste in books, nevertheless, many of your blog readers do and you rightly cater to a wide readership. I am a DIY person (as to building and sewing), however, there is a glut of those blogs so all the better that yours is not focused in that area. I love seeing your home; your photography; your garden; your dogs; your squirrels and birds. I always welcome small-space decorating ideas but most of all, I like how you weave your words around daily life with thoughtfulness and honesty. More of the same will be fine by me. And thank you.

    1. Sometimes when I look at other blogs, ones that do a lot of DIYs, etc., I feel a bit guilty that I don’t provide that for you. But if you don’t mind, then I’ll just continue as I’m doing! I worked all afternoon making a segment of my blog (toward the bottom) all small space home tours. So that will be easy to locate now.

  13. Hi Brenda,
    We have universal health care here in Canada. Some provinces charge a monthly premium for it and some do not, ours in Manitoba does not. But, if we need surgery, unless it’s an emergency, you can wait up to a year or even longer for it. Many people grow much worse while they wait, i.e.. knee and hip replacements and recovery is not always great. It will take six months just to see a specialist after getting in to see our family doctor.
    A large segment of the population do not have family doctors, my husband and I do but, when we phone for an appointment the doctor is booked up a month or two in advance. Our Emergency departments are over worked and we are often told to go to a walk in clinic if we need to see a doctor, so that is what we usually do. We go and wait for an hour or more before we get to see a doctor, but that is much better than a month or more. Over time we can build a relationship with him, but he can’t be our md. I have heard that wealthy Canadians go to the USA for surgeries.
    I’m not complaining, these are just facts. Thankfully we do not pay a user fee so no matter what we are never left with a huge debt like some are left with in the USA. Our daughter and her family have dealt with cancer twice , a child with Type 1 diabetes and a knee replacement, due to a childhood cancer, all in a span of 14 years. They eat a lot of potatoes and more potatoes. She won’t complain, but if I find out we send them money to buy groceries.
    Sorry so long, but I don’t think either of our countries has it figured out completely, nor ever will.
    Have a lovely day and as for me… I love your decorating posts and all of your other posts, you are a great writer! Easy to read.

    1. No, I don’t think any countries have it perfect unfortunately. Often I can’t get into my doctor for weeks, and I’m told to go to a walk in clinic. For one thing, there just aren’t enough doctors. Not enough spaces for med students in college so they can become doctors.

  14. Years ago I had two dog companions. One of my dogs got very ill. He wouldn’t eat or drink, was hot to the touch so I figured he was running what is a fever for a dog, and he was listliss. The poor little guy, he LOOKED sick, like how I look when I get sick – eyes get sort of glassy and hair gets funky even though it had just been washed, that’s what Spencer looked like. He wouldn’t move, I would carry him inside and outside to the yard so he could do his business. I would put him down, he would go and then just stand there waiting for me to pick him up again, looking like he was just going to collapse. The worst thing was that it was winter and there was snow on the ground, and it was cold as all get out. He had not been exposed to any other dogs.. Fortunately, my other dog did not get sick, and after 3 bad days Spencer started getting better and quickly rebounded. I thought he might have caught something from me, but from what I read online now (there weren’t personal computers and internet back then) it’s highly unlikely that a human could pass a flu or a cold to a dog, or vice versa. So it was and remains a mystery.

  15. I, too, just enjoy your posts and views on life, with decorating hints and color combinations sometimes thrown in. Yours is the only blog I read now, as I do not currently have as much time to read blogs and find yours the most interesting.
    I am wondering if I am the only reader who has had a problem with your blog taking a few minutes to load. It used to load right away. This has happened every day since you recently changed over your blog.

    1. Really? Well, I’ll have to see what I can find out about that. Sorry it’s taking awhile to load. Some have told me that it’s faster. I size my photos down so they don’t take up a lot of time to load and have very little on my sidebar.

  16. The main thing I enjoy about your blog are the pictures and your life. I enjoy hearing about the pupsters and their day to day life. I don’t care for the book reviews. Maybe because I don’t read the same type that you do. So on those days, I just skip over it. But reading your blog daily makes me feel like I have visited with a friend. Keep up the good work!

    1. That’s why when on the days I post a book review, I generally post again about something else before the day is over.

  17. Brenda,
    I enjoy all your posts,I admire your decorating style although I lean towards minimalism…
    Thrillers are my favorite genre,I’ve read a couple from your reviews.
    Smart to keep the pups safe,a friend came by the other day with some cat food and treats from the dollar store,I refused them,not getting my babies sick!!!
    Keep up the good work:)

    1. Not everyone likes the same kind of books I do. But I still like to promote reading. Gotta keep our babies healthy!

  18. I don’t think anyone’s life is boring and yours certainly is not. I have been reading your blog for several years and you have taught me what it means to be strong in adversity and how to look on the bright side of things. I also love seeing how you decorate. You have such a flair for it, you could go into business decorating people’s houses. Anything you write will be of interest to me.

    1. Well, I thank you for that. I wasn’t always this strong. Just happened since I’ve been divorced really. Before that I really lacked confidence.

  19. Love your posts just as they are Brenda. You are so open and generous with what you tell us about your everyday life. It certainly isn’t boring to me. Love to hear about the pupsters and see what you are up to on your all season patio.

    1. Well, I’m glad. I’m open because I figure whatever happens to me probably happens to women just like me. So might as well share and we can compare notes.

  20. I don’t have dogs, but I’ve been reading about the dog flu on news articles that pop up on Facebook. I don’t blame you for keeping your dogs at home and away from the groomer, etc right now. Taxes – ugh. We don’t even have anything to deduct anymore, except for the teeny bit of interest that’s left on our mortgage. Next year, it will be nothing as our house will be paid off this summer. Health insurance is headachy area of life.

    I like blogs and blog posts that are about everyday life, thoughts, plus home-type stuff like decorating (especially on a budget), gardening, and cooking. I’m not into crafts, but I do enjoy artistic pursuits. But that’s just me.

    1. My craft days seem to be kind of over I think. I like to read about decorating and gardening on a budget, so that’s what I write about. I love to read bloggers write about everyday life because it gives me a glimpse into their real life, not just their DIYs.

    2. You get to deduct all your interest payments made on your residential mortgage on your US income tax return? Does it make a large difference in any excess income tax you may have to pay, or alternatively give back a larger refund? What a bonus that is. In canada this is not and never has been a a decuction option available on our income tax returns.

  21. Brenda,
    I enjoy reading your variety of posts. I like the posts showing your changes and updates of your apartment, the fur babies, and of your flowers and outdoor life. I really enjoy your book reviews, and have chosen several to read based upon your input. I think I enjoy the posts because they are so varied, and not strictly furniture/home DYI projects or recipes. Thank you for sharing with us.

    1. I guess that debunks the myth that a blogger should choose a niche and stick to it! I go to other blogs and most of them seem to stay somewhat within their “niche.” I have never done that, but I do stick to small space decorating and gardening rather than decorating large homes. And then I meander with whatever comes to mind.

  22. I enjoy the most your posts about your apartment, re-arranging and decorating, and your dogs and your life. I don’t read your posts about books because I could never read those type of books without a nervous breakdown. (ha) I hope your insurance is finally straightened out. The work ethic in the U.S. today seems to be that no one cares about doing a good job. Too many just do enough to get through 8 hours and collect their paycheck.

    1. I try to publish a little bit of everything, because no one likes the very same things. That’s why I asked you readers what you want to see. So I’ll know more of what to write about. I just spent hours on the patio cleaning up because it’s nice and sunny. I’ll be glad when I can garden again and show my flowers!

  23. I just enjoy your style of writing Brenda. I love reading about your every day life. Obviously many don’t find your life boring we keep coming back 🙂
    Have a great day

    1. Since one of you mentioned missing the home tours, I now have a cute colorful home tour all ready for you for Thursday. And thanks for coming back!

  24. Love your posts; your life is anything but boring! Your readers are so entertained by your posts each day. I find myself watching the clock in the morning to see if it is close to 9 am so that I can read the post for the day. It is a bonus when you post twice (a book review in addition to the daily musings). And I do like your book reviews as well as a daily dose of everyday life and decorating tips/ideas.

    My two dogs had flu shots this past year and I am sure that this will now be part of the annual exam. My dogs are 60 + pounds each and are both rescue dogs. We had thought to rescue them and then adopt them out (we already had two dogs and two cats at the time) but both dogs are mutts and the vet’s office could find no takers (not many people want to adopt large non-pedigreed dogs). So…. they are a cherished part of our family now. Our furry crew now consists of these two dogs and one cat. The cat appears to rule the roost! Our dogs are past due for a spa day.

    Dealing with health insurance issues can be such a pain at times but I am delighted with my primary doctor, her staff and with my health insurance coverage. I know insurance companies are for profit but I am also grateful for their ongoing research and development into remedies for so many health problems/diseases. And I am also aware that those of us who do pay for our insurance and health care are subsidizing the huge number who are unable or refuse to pay (I am not really complaining; I just know this is true having been exposed to the medical processes).

    1. The same about older dogs. I once volunteered at an animal shelter and could not get anyone to take a sweet older dog. I finally took him myself and he was such a sweetheart. I didn’t even realize they had dog flu shots. Have to ask about that. Your comment made me feel so good. Glad I’m not boring.

      1. The dog flu shot is probably the annual vaccine for parvovirus and distemper. The parvo was really bad this past spring and clung to the grasses where precious dogs had been and if your dog went for walks in parks or even around the block, and smelled a spot or walked on a spot where another dog had been who had parvo, and your dog was not vaccinated he/she could catch it. The other annual vaccine is the bordertella vaccine for kennel cough which is highly contagious as well (and can be caught anywhere….if a dog goes to a kennel they must be vaccinated to prevent spread of the disease.

          1. The Canine Influenza Vaccine (CIV) H3N8 is a relatively new vaccine. It is not the same as the annual vaccine for parvovirus/distemper. It is considered a non-core vaccine. The vet recommended this vaccine when we thought we would be boarding our animals for a quick family trip. There was a canine flu outbreak in 2015 and our vet noted that in Florida we have many tourists who board their dogs as well as a huge influx of “winter” part time residents whose animals travel with them and utilize local vets. We decided not to take a chance and had our dogs vaccinated with this influenza vaccine.

  25. Thank you very much for your daily blog posts. Often, they are the highlight of my day. I eagerly look for your newest addition each morning. I love all your topics!

  26. Brenda, I enjoy seeing pretty little apartment. I never tire of that even if you haven’t changed anything. I appreciate the way you share your life, so open. I enjoy your thoughts on life and how you face the many challenges that come your way. Not so much the book reviews, although I am a reader I have a different taste, but many others seem to enjoy. Don’t try to change your style, you are who you are and it is working for you.

    1. They say that bloggers should not change their style. Because if they aren’t themselves, then how interesting can they be? But sometimes when I look back at one of my posts, I think, what kind of info did I actually give? Most of the time, it’s just daily life.

  27. Hi. I have enjoyed the mix-up of posts lately. Variety is the spice of life! Yes, like many others, I most enjoy your “slice of life” posts and posts with photos of the rooms in your home. But, I don’t mind when you have a book review or a “six ways to decorate whatever” post. That’s because such posts seem to show more about what makes you tick. I don’t read all of the book reviews because I seem to be too impatient to read suspense novels. I just want to flip to the back of the book and find out who did it. But I know you love such books and some of the other readers do too, so I don’t mind the reviews. Lately, the “six ways to do whatever” posts have been helpful because I have become irritated with Pinterest and you’ve been a bit of an alternative. Too often with Pinterest I click on a post that states it is, say, a “Great Recipe for Apple Cinnamon Muffins,” but it turns out to be a slide show of “35 Great Breakfast Ideas.” I refuse to click through the slide show in hopes of finding the muffin recipe. I actually have done a couple of the ideas I’ve found in your how-to posts — my extended family loved the snowman Christmas appetizer I found on your blog back in December. So, do whatever you want, and it probably will be interesting to somebody! I’m just astonished and grateful that you post every day.

    1. When I publish a book review, I usually try to publish another post that day for those who aren’t interested in the reviews. I feel the same way about Pinterest. Sometimes it takes you on a wild goose chase.

      1. I’ve noticed that you often do publish another post the day of a book post, Brenda, and I like and appreciate that! I don’t care for suspense novels, but to each her own; my little mother loved them! But whatever your post is, I read your blog every day and really enjoy your writing and wonderful photos. And the pupsters, of course!

  28. My favorites are your everyday musings and decor in your home and patio. You are insightful. I find myself thinking of what you wrote throughout my day.

    1. Oh, well that just makes my day! That what I write is something you think about after you’ve read it. Can’t ask for more than that.

  29. Brenda, I think your life is beautiful. Not boring!
    I enjoy your blog a lot, it is an amazing one. I love to read about your everyday life, your pupsters, plants. I miss reading
    more about decor in small places and cozy decor. Everything cozy attracts me so much…
    Thank you for all.

    1. I will plan to show more home tours, as my place is small and not a lot changes around here inside anymore. Guess I’ve lost the urge to move things about all the time.

  30. Good Morning Brenda! You do a good job of mixing up your info on your posts. I enjoy reading your book reviews. Some I like, some I don’t, but wouldn’t be boring if we all loved everything the same. At least when I see the book I’ll know yes or no. I like it when you show pictures when you have done something in your apartment. Love the colors you use and your not afraid to try something different. Just keep up the good job!

  31. I read that dogs are being rescued and brought here from Korea. Some are sick and this is causing new problems for our dogs.

    1. Scares me. My dogs are 11 years old. And I imagine that, like the elderly getting more sick with flu, I would wager it’s the same with older pets.

  32. I loved the home and apartment reviews you used to do. I think there was a reason you stopped those though. I also love when you show us your rearranged apartment when you redecorate. You have such an eye for decor. I just enjoy reading your blog as it is so refreshing in it’s honesty and transparency.

    1. I miss them too. Tell you what, I think I’ll go back to doing those tours, just from big sites like Apartment Therapy, Country Living, etc. The reason I stopped was that there was negative talk of showing pictures from other sites, but that was mostly blogs I think. Personally, if someone wants to show one of my photographs with a link back to my blog, I’m happy!

  33. I also prefer the “slice of life” posts. Whilst many of us enjoy the book reviews, an equal number probably are less interested because everyone’s taste is a bit different.
    My personal favorites are those with your wonderful descriptions of and insights into the simple things in life. ( Your description today of the tree branches looking like skeletal hands made me run to my window and search the tree tops.)

    We frequently forget that insurance companies are FOR PROFIT companies.
    There were enormous company profit surges in 2017. Greed rears it’s ugly head.
    No conscience, no soul.

    1. Good point. Profits are at odds with the point of health care.
      In France, we pay 1.5%-6.5% of our income (it goes up as you earn more) as a tax toward universal coverage. Doctors visits are €25, with 2/3 of it reimbursed (so the co-pay is €8.33). Choice of doctors, great care.

    2. Well, I’m glad you like descriptions. I don’t think I’d know how to write without them! When I look at something, in my mind the description just naturally follows for some reason.

  34. I like your posts about your daily life. I don’t do much crafting or sewing anymore. I enjoy reading about them sometimes but since I’ve retired and older I do more reading and watching TV than doing. I like easy recipes and how to’s and tips on living on a fixed income. I enjoy your book reviews and have read several of your suggested reads. I feel a connection to the way you live, that is the way I have gravitated to over the last several years. I look forward to reading your blog everyday. Keep them coming, please.

    1. In my thirties a day never went by, I don’t think, when I didn’t make or sew something. Guess I got it out of my system! That or burned myself out. I like easy recipes too, I just tend to fix the same ones over and over again out of habit.

  35. Your posts about everyday life are the most appealing to me. Like you, I am a reader, but we don’t share the same taste. Thrillers are wasted on me. I scan through your book reviews quickly, but I surely do appreciate your efforts to promote reading.

    1. Well, those posts are certainly the easiest! So as long as you guys like them, I’ll supply them! And yes, everyone has different tastes in books, but I do like to promote reading whenever I can.

  36. I love all of your posts, from daily life to book reviews. I don’t always comment, which is something I need to work on.
    I have never heard of dog flu either until recently. Makes me almost glad I don’t have a dog at the moment. Just would be one more worry.
    I think insurance companies, on a whole, have a communication problem. I am glad you sorted out your problem.
    Hope you and the pups have a nice day!

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