You are currently browsing the monthly archive for March 2008.

My father passed away suddenly and unexpectedly from a heart attack last July.

He and my Mom had gotten a little Australian Silkie Terrier named Kitty Marie

about 10 years before to be a companion to their Yorkie, Bubba.  (full moniker –

Bubbalicious, don’t ya love it)  Mom and Bubba were gone but Kitty remained. An orphan.

She was all alone….. Abandoned…….  An orphan, like me.yorkie dog alone in driveway                           

I brought her home with me and the retraining began. 

 She is 8.5 lbs. soaking wet. 

 I am  petite  but more than 12 times her size. 

The “Big Dog” a.k.a. my hubby is 25 times

 her size.

It took less than 1 week for her to get us trained. 

We were a little slow but showed promise.


A little background here: We have never had a little dog. My husband had a Great

Dane/Wolfhound mix growing up and also raced sled dogs for a couple of years.

We always have had dogs, beloved family members, BUT I never thought I would

 like a “phoofey” little dog. [ You know the barky, whiney type that run the household

like a canine tyrant].

I like a dog to smell like a dog and act like a dog. I consider freshly dug

craters in the landscaping and big wet smoochey kisses just part of life with a dog. 

 Soooo, I didn’t think a little barking prima donna would fit in too well with our

previous dog profile, but I had to bring Kitty home.  She was all I had left of my

parents.  My hubby, affectionately known as The Big Guy – but for this tale,

“The Big Dog” kept his own counsel on the Kitty subject. (We have been married

39 years for a reason)

big dog I need to confess to you that my parents

spoiled Kitty rotten. She was fed tidbits of

chicken, ham, & bacon in a doggie gourmet

way -prechewed- from the table and wasn’t

real crazy about dog food. 

Hhhmmmm..wonder why?? 


She always slept with my parents in their kingsize bed as well. Life was good for Miss Kitty.

Now back at the suburban ranch, The Big Dog declares, “no dogs in our bed !!!”  setting his

posture on Kitty’s sleeping quarters. I am compliant (remember the 39 year thing) and put her

bed next to ours on the floor. We go to bed.

She whines, barks, tries to jump up, and generally raises hell about being left off the bed where

The Big Dog and myself are trying to sleep. After 5 minutes which  seems much longer, Kitty is

removed to the back room, bed and all, to teach her a lesson and let us get some sleep.

This is the pattern for 2 days.  We don’t get much sleep and Miss Kitty goes on a hunger strike.


I won’t go into the gory details here, it gets nasty. Just sum it up as a $ 250.00 lesson

that entailed a trip to the vet, 2 late nite trips to the pet store to get a $5.00 an unce can of special

dog food, close perusal of $5.00 an ounce dog offal, and lots of worrying about whether a now

svelte little Kitty would pull through. 

The Big Dog jokes that the free dog is costing about $35 a pound.

I’m sure you can guess the end of the story.

It was determined Miss Kitty could come back into the bedroom-in her bed on the floor

only She slept but decided a predawn trip outside was needed.  After 2-3 days of not much

sleep and a well-aired dog, it was determined Miss Kitty could probably come up on the bed,

if she would settle down.”bed


 Miss Kitty has settled down, right

into the down comforter, snores like

a long shoreman, and thinks

“Life is Good!”



If you and your dog are looking for a home in the Grand Rapids Michigan area, we are a team  

of dog lovers that make our living selling homes.


Especially in Ada, Cascade, Caledonia, East Grand RapidsKentwood and Rockford.


   Copyright by Bonnie Westbrook 2008

    Contact: 1-888-240-1968 x 0   toll free  

    Website url: Terry  



Miss Kitty photo by  Bonnie Westbrook  The Bed photo courtesy of Mavieenrose3 at  BIG DOG photo courtesy of Marre58 at


 I recently posted about The January Series at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI. This is the only lecture we were able to attend and what a great lecture and topic. Imagine yourself floating 100 feet above the Amazon rainforest floor, plucking leaves & flowers, photographing bugs, seeing tropical birds literally where they live.  All in a day’s work for Canopy Meg…….forest canopies book by M D LowmanAs with most researchers, Margaret D. Lowman is not well known publicly. Her nickname is Canopy Meg.  She is a biological researcher in the  forests’ canopy- or in simple terms – her work is done at the very top of 500 -5000 year old trees over 100 feet off the ground, sometimes on a canopy crane, ropes & pulleys, or even a hot air balloon. She has studied the canopy biology of the Peruvian Amazon for over 20 years. 

More than 70% of the species living in a tropical forest reside in the canopy, the uppermost layer of the forest, and one of the least understood environments on Earth.

The canopy is important because it serves as the interface between the biosphere and the atmosphere, and is physically and biologically the most active part of the forest.

                                                 life in the treetops book by M D Lowman

   As Director of Environmental Initiatives for New College Florida, she is a Professor of Biology &  Environmental Studies.  She also gives lectures, takes  students on field trips to the Amazon to educate young people about the rainforests and their role in the balance of life on our planet. She is a delightful speaker, keeps her audience interested and amused. She had many amusing anecdotes about being the only woman researcher living in primitive conditions! She has also taken her 2 sons on many jungle expeditions and into the canopy with her.

The way she explained it, the rainforests are ancient.  They used to cover vast distances in South America, Africa, and South East Asia -Australia. They act as the lungs of our planet, giving off life giving oxygen and taking in carbon dioxide in massive amounts. (remember Biology 101?)  The rainforests are under attack.  We are losing thousands of acres of irreplaceable trees.  To illustrate her point, she told us about the seedlings of a rainforest tree.  They grow excruciatingly slowly.  A seedling 6 inches high on the rainforest floor is approximately 50 years old.  You do the math.         

 its a jungle up there book by m d lowmanThe insects, birds, and flowers that grow and thrive at the canopy level  have just started to be cataloged and identified.  Most of the jungle research up to 20 years ago was on the forest floor.  Realizing she wouldn’t be able to get enough done in her lifetime to scratch the surface, her mission now is to educate young people, especially young girls and encourage them to become field biologists.  

She has written several books:

 Life in the Treetops – Adventures of a Field Biologist

 It’s a Jungle Out There – More Tales from the Treetops

Forest Canopies

All available on line or check your local library/bookstore.

You can listen to her lecture here.

 A TreeTop Home or a Home on the Ground, we assist buyers & sellers every day

 with the Home of their Dreams.

   Westbrook Realty Grand Rapids MI Real  Estate



Contact us at : 1-888-240-1968 x 0    


Copyright by Bonnie Westbrook 2008

Merle’s Door by by Ted Kerasote is one of the best dog memoir books I have ever read.  If you have a dog, are thinking about getting a dog, or just like reading about dogs, don’t miss this great book!  It is truly a loving tribute to a big-hearted canine from his beloved best friend.

                                   merle's door by ted kerasote

Ted Kerasote, winner of the National Outdoor Book Award, writes for many periodicals including Outdoor Magazine & Audubon, among others. He is an outdoor enthusiast and lives in the state of  Wyoming. 

He has written this warm, character driven memoir of his dog, Merle. By reading this book, you will get to know and love Merle, too.  

 (Warning: You will need tissue at the end of the book)  He is allowed to become himself, thoroughly, which is the basis of this novel.  Ted interprets what Merle is thinking and feeling, and this book is a true testament to the age old friendship between man and dog.

Almost any pet owner will credit their pet with many traits that in the past were only thought to be possessed by humans.  I’ve always believed animals are sentient beings and capable of most, if not all the feelings and emotions we have. I believe they think, not just react through genetic code.  If you are a doubter, then take the challenge and read Merle’s Door.  You will not look at animals quite the same way as before.

If you and your dog are looking for a home in the Grand Rapids Michigan area, we are a team of dog lovers that make our living selling homes. Especially in Ada, Cascade, Caledonia, East Grand Rapids, Forest HIlls, Kentwood and Rockford.

 Westbrook Realty ~ Grand Rapids Real Estate

 Bonnie Westbrook Copyright 2008 All rights reserved                                          

photo of Merle’s Door courtesy of Harcourt Publishing Co.

If you are interested in doing something different for this coming 4th of July celebration, we have a New Approach to a musical festival for you here in West Michigan.  In tiny Rothbury,  they are making music history and tying it in a big green ribbon.  Do you remember Woodstock?  It will have similar music offerings, over 100 bands, artists, and acts, featuring The Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer, 311, Modest Mouse, Snoop Dogg, and Widespread Panic to name a few, but will have a green sustainable focus.

                  widespread panic band                              dave matthews Band   

The promoters are centering the Festival at  the Double JJ Ranch & Golf Resort, which is on the shores of Lake Michigan just north of  Shelby.   The Double JJ Ranch offers lakes, beach fronts, trails, forests, fields, and even onsite lodging, bars, and restaurants.

This is no ordinary Music Festival, they also plan on having:

An onsite Think Tank with innovative leaders in the Green movement in a round table discussion to plan and pursue saving our environment.

A Circus & Theatre where the show comes off the stage and engages more than a few of your senses – the run-in with a busker, a formal affair in the lounge of The Establishment, an unexpected aerial performance in the tree tops…

 An Energy Fair: Visit the Energy Fair to enjoy a flurry of scheduled and surprise activities, test drive some new wheels with bleeding edge new technology, plus food and drink, vending, performances, presentations, contests and interactive opportunities, and so much more. 

 A New World Cabaret Experience: ROTHBURY’s bold and bawdy spot to get your fix of vaudeville croquet and smart, eclectic entertainment in a bizarre artisto-twistic atmosphere. Scheduling is still being confirmed. 

The Tripolee Dome: with a chill out bar and lounge, yoga instructions, Earth harp classes, and more.

Also including: E Town, Yoga Program, and The Big Gig Open Mic Stage:

Summer will be here soon, this sounds like an event you won’t want to miss, if I can get Terry off the golf course for one weekend we might have a

Rothbury Experience.”


  Copyright by Bonnie Westbrook 2008                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Contact us at : 1-888-240-1968 x 0   

Westbrook Realty ~ Grand Rapids Real Estate        


photos courtesy of widespread panic & dave matthews band sites

A friend gave me two free coupons for a local spa treatment. I hadn’t heard of the salon, the Douglas J Institute, located in downtown Grand Rapids at 138 Commerce St SW.  She said it was wonderful and I should enjoy it. I admit I am a grown up Tomboy and don’t really like salons and all the  paraphernalia that goes with it.  I tolerate my semi-yearly haircuts and that is about the extent of my foray into the world of beauty.

 My friend, Karen Webster and I decide to do lunch and then get the Self-Renewal Facial at the salon.  We had a fantastic lunch at Little Mexico downtown and found our way over  to the salon.

Knowing nothing about Douglas J, I did a little research. I did find out the salon is a training institute and features Aveda products.

When we registered at the front desk, the hostess told us it would be 2 hours. We looked at each other, shrugged and thought, OK. We don’t have any other appointments, why not? 

But secretly I was thinking:

 “What in the world are they going to do with us for 2 hours. My face isn’t that big or that bad.”

We were escorted back to 2 secluded rooms by two young trainees. All spa services are done by senior students, who are supervised by a licensed trainer. We were stationed in separate rooms and given a brief questionnaire to reveal any allergies or sensitivities to products being used, told to disrobe, put on a spa robe, and the treatment  begins.                                                                     

                                                           gr mi real estate spa blog

The lights were turned down, soft, soothing music was playing.  Jenny gave me the most fantastic 2 hours that seemed like 15 minutes I’ve ever spent in a salon setting. My facial was 3 separate phases with a hot towel (sheer heaven) after each. I also received a foot massage, an ayurvedic massage of my head, neck and shoulders, a scalp massage, plus an arm and hand massage. After all this, they offer a complimentary cosmetic touch-up so you don’t have to go out with a bare face.

It was so relaxing, I’m ready to rebook if my life gets the least bit frazzled. I would recommend this experience to anyone, it was a delightful afternoon. 

Thanks, Douglas J!

P.S. I might get addicted to this salon life, after all.

                                                                                                     facial gr mi real estate blog




   Copyright by Bonnie Westbrook 2008

    Contact: 1-888-240-1968 x 0   toll free  

    Westbrook Realty ~ Grand Rapids Real Estate  


facial photos courtesy of Flickr – chocokat & loveberry

We saw our first robin yesterday – sure sign spring is here!!

If you live in Grand Rapids MI, you know that the robins return

signals spring.  We have had a cold and snowy winter this year and

are especially glad to see our first one this year.

Robins bring the message of spring in person every year!

robin gr mi real estate

I always marvel at their early arrival ~ They are the first birds to nest in the spring and

hatch their first babies in April. A pair of robins will raise 2-3 batches of young every summer

season, selecting and building a new nest every time. They ignore the weather, our soil is still

frozen in spots, so not much worm activity yet. They are also the State Bird of Michigan.

Probably selected for the forementioned reasons.robin gr mi real estate


Much like the robins, we also get the urge to move

 and make a new start in the spring.


Are you thinking of getting a home with more room?

Do you need a bigger garage or basement?

Do your children need more space to play??

Whatever the reason, now is a great time to move up and get the home of your dreams.

Don’t believe what  the media has been touting ad nauseum.   People are getting their house ready

to sell, selling them and moving every day.

Just like the robins, we can find a new home this spring, too.

robins photos from wikipedia-American robin

Copyright by Bonnie Westbrook 2008                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Contact us at : 1-888-240-1968 x 0   

Westbrook Realty ~ Grand Rapids Real Estate        

March is SugarBush Time in Grand Rapids Michigan. We are fortunate to have Blandford Nature Center, a 143 acre natural site in the second largest city in the state. And all this month on Saturday and Sunday (*except Easter weekend) there will be a SugarBush Festival with the smell of maple syrup cooking in the air.  This fresh maple syrup is available to eat at the annual pancake breakfast.  So, you can have some real maple syrup on those pancakes! If you have  never had one of nature’s sweetest treats – make it a point to sample:

           The Annual 2008 Pancake Breakfast is March 15th from 8 AM to 12 PM

                     1715 Hillburn Ave. Grand Rapids Michigan

                       Admission: $3 Adults  $1 children

                                blandford sugar shack gr mi

       If you are interested in Maple Sugaring Facts, here are a few to consider:

  • Tapping does no permanent damage and only 10 percent of the sap is collected each year. Many maple trees have been tapped for 150 or more years.
  • Usually a maple tree is at least 30 years old and 12 inches in diameter before it is tapped
  • It takes 30-50 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup

  Much more information is available at the Michigan Maple Sugar Association

Volunteers are needed to run the sugar bush and help with all the facilities. A perfect way to learn all about this process, a hands on education for yourself and your children/grand children.

* Easter Weekend, Blandford Nature Center’s 5 miles of Nature Trails will be open for self-guided tours.

Mixed Greens has more information on volunteering, Blandford Nature Center,

and Sugar Bush Fun.

Copyright by Bonnie Westbrook 2008                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Contact us at : 1-888-240-1968 x 0   

Westbrook Realty ~ Grand Rapids Real Estate        

sugar shack photo courtesy of mixed

Most of us have neighbors. You know, those folks who make your neighborhood a great place to live.  They wave at you when you are walking the dog or driving by.

neighborhoodThey keep their house in good repair.

 They paint the siding when it needs it.

 They put on a new roof before the old one gets so bad, the roof leaks. 

 They keep their lawn mowed.

They rake their leaves before winter snows bury them or before they all blow over to your yard.

They offer to watch your dog if you go out of town for a few days. 


 If you have really good neighbors, they shovel your snowy walk if you have the flu.painted houses

They walk their dog with their doggie bag

They agree to cook your turkey if  your stove dies the night before Thanksgiving and you are hosting your horde of  relatives.  

 Their daughter will babysit on short notice and New Year’s Eve!

They hold the flashlight for you when you get to gabbing and forget to mow the lawn until after dark.  

 They don’t get angry when your son gets his first bow and arrow set and shoots them in the leg (by accident).  

Most of us have neighbors.  Neighbors make your neighborhood a great place to live.     



Westbrook Realty Grand Rapids MI Real Estate   

Copyright by Terry Westbrook 2008

    Contact me: 1-888-240-1968 x 0   toll free  


Photos courtesy of flickr – zapping your neighborhood by hp19 &  there goes the neighborhood by Orrin

Ada Township’s Roselle Park is a fantastic slice of preserved natural

habitat on the Grand River. Roselle Park is unique in many ways.   It includes

240 acres of land and over one mile of frontage on the  Grand River.  The park

will eventually have over one mile of paved trail from the park entry back to

the Grand River, a barrier-free boardwalk and river overlook, canoe landing,

benches, litter receptacles and seasonal toilet facilities.

roselle park in ada mi

Grants, private donations and township funds

will provide $277,000 for development of

this unique park. Improvements are already

in progress to restore wetlands and wildlife

habitat in the park, through a “Partners for Fish and Wildlife” project jointly

undertaken by the Township, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Ducks


Roselle Park is already being used for hiking, bird-watching by local birding

enthusiasts, cross-country skiing and guided educational tours sponsored

by the Ada Township Parks Department.

The Grand Opening was held in late October 2007 and more improvements

will be made in the future including a wildlife observation tower on the river.

A new walking path connects it to the community.

Come on out and check out this newest park in Ada Township.

It is located at 1010 Grand River Dr. SE

Additional Roselle Park Articles:

Roselle Park Flood Stage Spring 2009 Video

Roselle Park – Natural Habitat Reserve

Roselle Park Photos

Contact us at : 1-888-240-1968 x 0

Westbrook Realty ~ Grand Rapids Real Estate


Photos by Bonnie Westbrook

Watermark Country Club, located in the heart of Cascade, is a full

service private golf & swim Club that is joined with the “open to the public”

Grille Restaurant and banquet facility. A golf course well known and

admired in the Grand Rapids  area, it is surrounded by many golf

course homes.

 watermark country club hole 18 terry westbrook real estate blog






 Watermark Country Club has spent the last 8 years growing and developing a style and atmosphere that is very family friendly yet equally adept at taking care of specific needs of the “business-oriented” community. From junior golf programs and a calendar of events for all types of players, to securing a vast amount of just “open-play” time for the business oriented members, Watermark is trying to accomodate its members. 

 As a golf member of Watermark Country Club for the past eight years and to its predecessors

since 1977, I can tell you that it is a course that never fails to put me to the test.  It is one of the

best maintained courses in the state and Michigan has more golf courses than Florida! I have

played many golf courses in my 34 year career but Watermark is still my favorite.

 Watermark Country Club also offers a Pool Membership separately and to its golf members.    jeffy as scuba steve terry westbrook real estate blog

We  enjoy taking our grandson, Jeffy, to “The  Pool” in the summer.  It is one of his favorite acitivities when he comes to visit.

Here he is as “Scuba Steve” with all the appropriate “POOL” gear.




Grand Rapids Ada Real Estate ~ Westbrook Realty    Email:

photos by Bonnie Westbrook

   Copyright by Terry Westbrook 2008

    Contact me: 1-888-240-1968 x 0   toll free  

Grand Rapids Photos


March 2008
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