Tuesday, June 29, 2010

If I Only Had a Brain!

It has been a crazy week already for me! I can't believe that it's "just" Tuesday! I have to work every day this week because our office manager is off for a week. It's not a problem to work at the front desk. But it means that I don't get my day off this week, and I have to get to work early to open the office and stay late to close it.

Carl is working a late schedule this week so of course I was in a rush to get out of the office and get home. But this evening before I could head home I had to stop and get food for the dogs. I glanced at my watch and knew that if I didn't chat with the employees in the shop like I usually do, I could be home by 7:00. So, I rushed in, picked up what I needed, and didn't even wait for the offer to carry my bags of food to my van. I had a spot right up front so I was going to quickly be on my way...At least that was the plan...When I pushed the button on my key to unlock the door, nothing happened. I tried it again, and again, and again, and nothing happened. I'd noticed the last week or so that it hasn't been working that well, and so it didn't take long to conclude that the battery for the key must be dead, giving me no way to get into my van. I tried to get in touch with Carl, but was unable. I was really trying to keep my composure. But I have to admit that it was getting increasingly difficult because all the stress I've been feeling the last couple of days was finally starting to get to me. I know they could see me from inside the shop because "Jon" who is the manager came out and asked me if everything was okay. I was nearly in tears as I explained to him about my dead key battery and not being able to get into my van. He looked at my key and very kindly and carefully paused for a moment and then asked me if I'd tried putting the key into the door to unlock it....Oh...I guess I forgot that it works that way too...I'm sure they're having a good laugh at my expense at "Whole Pet" and you can laugh too if you'd like--It's really okay because I deserve it! Besides I really needed a laugh today as well, even one at myself is okay because it has made me feel better! Laughter really is the best medicine!!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Forever Home for Patch

When I tell people that I foster Golden Retrievers for the rescue, it is not uncommon to hear the response that they couldn't foster because they would keep them all. While I know I've gotten good that, those of you who have fostered dogs know that there are some that come to you that are not a fit for your home. This was true of our foster dog Patch. (You may recall that he came to us in late April. He was given up by his owner because the neighbors complained about his being left outside alone for 14 hours a day).

Patch has many good and endearing qualities, but he did not particularly get along with our dogs. He never started any fights with our crew but he was always growling at them if they got too close to him while he had a tennis ball or another toy that he considered his. He would also growl at them when they had something that he wanted--I really think he had all the tennis balls in the house named. He seemed to know exactly how many we had and where they were and if another dog picked one up. Thankfully the reaction from our dogs was the equivalent to rolling their eyes. They would drop whatever they had so he could have it. I guess they figured it was easier.

I know I could have kept Patch and just put up with his growling at the other dogs, but that would not have been fair to him or our dogs. What Patch needed was a home where he was the star and could have a family and toys all to himself. This is exactly what I found for Patch. The family we met with last week really fell in love with him and Patch and I fell in love with them too. They are perfect for him!

So, this morning, it was another 2 hour road trip down the crowded Capital Beltway, through the toll booths to take Patch to "the family." Patch was happy to see them. He played with their 6 year old son, ignored the birds, and followed the Mom around the house. He hardly knew I was there; what was I saying about their being perfect? When I left they walked me outside to my van and at first Patch wanted to go with me. But the son called to him and Patch looked at him and then looked at me, and then back to Jack...I quickly said my good-byes, and Patch and the Mom walked back into the house--Patch was wagging his tail and unlike me, he never looked back. It was a sad moment for me, but it's how it should be.

I now enter what I call "Foster Home Rehab" for Patch. To help me recover and let go of Patch, I get to make allotted phone calls to the family to find out how it's going. And to help with my emotional needs, I again stopped at Krispy Kreme and had 2 very fresh-hot-doughnuts and a Diet Coke.

When I got home the dogs were already celebrating Patch's being gone. Josh was carrying a tennis ball in his mouth, Charlie was laying in Patch's spot and Sheba (who had the hardest time with Patch) started singing my praises that I didn't have him with me--I guess I'm the only one that needs rehab.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Looks of Charlie

Like many places across the country, we've had record breaking heat! The Goldens seem to take it all in stride and being Goldens they have not complained at all--In fact, Sam as you can see is soaking it all up!

Charlie on the other hand is not so "heat-tolerant." Being a Wheaten Terrier his coat is a very thick and heavy continually growing one that doesn't shed. The last few weeks Charlie has been laying on top of the air-conditioning vents and any other place where "cool" can be found. Even short walks have left him hot and panting. This has all signaled what I already knew, that its been 4 months and it's time for a trip to the groomers for a summer haircut!

I can never decide which of Charlie's looks I like the best. I really love when his coat is all grown out and fluffy and he has hair in his eyes. I do wonder how well he can see though. The other day I tossed him a treat and he couldn't see it coming towards him.
However, when Charlie returns from the groomers like he did today, he is totally transformed into a whole other dog with a totally different appearance. It's so easy to see that he's happy to be rid of his heavy coat. I like this look because I can see his eyes, especially his very bright blue one. When we first got Charlie, I used to think it was a bit "spooky" looking because I was so used to the brown eyes of the Goldens. Below is another one of Charlie's looks that I'd forgotten about. I was looking through some papers for the dogs today and I came across the paperwork with this picture that I received from the shelter where Charlie came from nearly 4 years ago. He came to us via Old English Sheepdog Rescue, and we "thought" that he was a sheepdog mix. Very soon I'll tell you Charlie's story of rescue and his lost chance at stardom--But as you can see, 4 years has made a difference for him. And in return, he's made a difference for me too--I love my "little man" no matter how he looks!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Road Trip & Krispy Kreme Doughnuts

On Saturday I took our other foster boy Patch to meet with a family interested in adopting him. They have birds and we wanted to make sure that he would leave them alone, and not consider them a snack. I am happy to report that despite a peck on the nose, Patch pretty much ignored the birds. But the family is meeting a second time with another family as well, so we'll see where it goes. The trip to their home took about two hours and meant a trip down the Capital Beltway, which I hate to drive on!! I don't know what's worse, the 10 lanes of traffic, or having to pay the tolls which total $5.30, and that's just one way--It's highway robbery!!!

But at the end of the drive making it all worth while is something that I grew up on and has been a favorite of mine my entire life, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts!

If you say the two words "Krispy Kreme" to the next person you see, they'll respond one of two ways. You might get a blank and puzzled stare, or they'll smile and start telling you a story about when they last had one of the south's divine foods: the fresh hot glazed Krispy Kreme doughnut.

Founded in 1937 by Vernon Rudolph in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the company was just a regional delight with the glazed goodness not reaching beyond the Mason Dixon line. But times have changed. Krispy Kremes appeared in New York in 1995 and now you can pick up a dozen or two just about anywhere.

However, buying them in a store is not the same. If you are lucky enough to be near a shop that makes them, the air around a Krispy Kreme parking lot, beckons you to come inside. And when you do, the fragrance of hot dough-meets-sugar envelopes you in warmth and then guides you over to the room-length windows to watch the wonderful Krispy Kreme doughnut-making machine at work.
Doughy circles journey up a bicycle-chain like series of platform chambers where they gradually grow and puff to become full-sized doughnut rings. Then suddenly they dive into hot oil and their transformation from dough to Krispy Kremes speedily takes place.

Like swimmers in a backyard pool, they ease down their lanes of hot oil then quickly flip over to brown their undersides. They trundle up a conveyor and finally parade through a grand sugar-glazing waterfall. For me, the taste is beyond compare to any other; a doughnut so airy and light that a mere finger-touch leaves a dent. And no matter how many times a person has eaten a Krispy Kreme doughnut they'll have that same joyful response when biting into a fresh hot one, something along the lines of "WOW, AMAZING, INCREDIBLE!!" However you say it, it all translates to the same wonderful, magical, scrumptious thing: "I love Krispy Kreme!!"

I bought just two of them because like "The Chub Brothers" I am working on shedding a few pounds. I thought I could eat just one and bring the other one home for Carl. And just like when I agreed to take "The Chub Brothers" I just couldn't say no to just one; however this time he didn't notice.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Chub Brothers!

We have affectionately nicknamed them "The Chub Brothers" (thank-you KT & Lady for the suggestion) and they are doing really well! Bubba (left) and Toby (right) are real gentlemen and are settling in nicely and getting along with everyone here at the "group home!"

I looked through their paperwork and found that they came from Indiana which makes them "Hoosiers!" (pronounced hoo'zher the name refers to an inhabitant or native of the state of Indiana). They are not related and became companions for one another when one of them, I don't know who, was about six months old; both are now close to 11 years old. The original owners lost their home and gave them to rescue about 2 years ago and they have been living at a Golden Retriever Sanctuary since then.

Right now the only issue I can see that these boys have is their weight. Bubba is really having problems coming up the 2 steps from the backyard because he's so heavy, and he has problems getting to his feet. Both are now on joint supplements which I'm confident will make a difference.
I guess the other problem is that Bubba also has an ear infection. This is where you can see the relationship between the two because Toby who appears to be the caretaker of Bubba continually cleans out his ears and washes his face, making the ear problem worse. But I have to admit that it makes me smile to see Toby taking care of Bubba...

Bubba's face after Toby was done cleaning him made Carl and I both a laugh!
The plan for these two boys is to get some of their weight off, which will improve their stamina. As you can see in the picture below of Toby, walks through our big fenced yards have them both huffing and puffing and foaming at the mouth; of course the heat and humidity is not helping. We are fostering them for the rescue which means that at the moment they're not going to be permanent additions to Golden Pines...Yeah, that's it, they're not staying...I've totally lost track of how many times I've said just that, because out of the last 12 dogs we have fostered, 10 have stayed...Who am I fooling? I'm totally smitten with them...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bubba & Toby Arrive at Golden Pines!

I cannot begin to thank everyone for your kind comments of support!! I'm happy to report that I'm among the living and not being committed to the loony-bin by my kind and extremely tolerant husband!!

I decided the best way to handle Carl was to just be up front and tell him that I'd agreed to take Bubba (standing in the above picture) and Toby (laying down). However, there was a glitch when I couldn't reach him on the phone. Yeah, that's it, I couldn't reach him--And by the time I did reach him, it was too late and the boys and I were on our way home....Does that sound believable to you? It did to Carl. I do have to admit that that it did take a little bit of convincing that adding 2 more dogs wasn't going to be any more work than if we still had Cowboy and Maguire. Fortunately Carl bought that point, hook, line and sinker, and he just smiled at me, shook his head and said they could stay--Like it would have mattered if he said they couldn't and as if he would have said they had to go! ;-)

Intros to our group were uneventful. Our crew is so good at meeting new dogs that they just give them a once over and it's back to whatever they were doing.

I don't know what the story of rescue is for these two boys. I was given a lot of paperwork that I'll sort through which may tell how they ended up with the rescue in West Virginia. All I know is that they are both about 10 years old and have been together their whole lives; I don't know if they are related. But both boys are healthy, but very overweight and have problems getting around. You can't help but smile when you watch them together licking one anothers faces and following each other around. Both didn't eat their dinner, which is understandable with all the evenings events. As I write this, they are both sleeping on the same dog bed; no easy feat for these two big boys! I am sure they are no doubt worn out from the days events--I am too, do you have any idea how much energy it takes to be nice and use the cosmic powers of persuasion?

Too Stupid to Live??

Would you like to know what a person looks like that is "too stupid to live?" Well, just look at the side bar for a picture of me, and you'll see one. Once again, I've let myself get talked into something that I really shouldn't have...What have I gotten myself talked into you might be asking? Committing a crime? Doing something that my Mother wouldn't have approved of? Buying a brand new sports car? No, it's nothing that simple...I've let myself get talked into taking a new foster dog from the rescue. I know, I know, I am supposed to be done fostering, and volunteering with the Golden Retriever Rescue in my area. And, I know, I know, we already have one foster dog--But he will hopefully be going to a new home next week--So just how did I let myself get talked into not just one new foster dog, but TWO???!!! Yes, that's 2 foster dogs--I have no idea how it happened. But "Bubba and Toby" are a bonded pair of ten-year olds coming from a nearby rescue in West Virginia who can no longer care for them. They're coming this evening. I've not told Carl, who just happens to be working tonight--Do you think he'll notice 2 new dogs? Do you think he's going to kill me when I tell him?? Stay tuned...Or if I never post again, you'll know what happened...

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Tale of a Yard Sale

This weekend my trip to Lancaster Pennsylvania wasn't to do all the touristy things, but to participate in a favorite American (??) event, a yard sale! Carl has been bugging me for quite some time to do something about all the things I have packed up in boxes in our garage--So, when our friend Sid said she was going to have one, I thought the time had come to part with the treasures I haven't laid eyes on since we put our last house on the market nearly 3 years ago.

I've only done one yard-sale in my life. It was prior to our leaving Alaska. I sold enough to pay for our plane tickets to Seattle and pay our expenses for coming to Virginia. I didn't have this kind of expectation going into this one because I know from others experiences that it's really hit or miss, and I didn't have that much to sell. But things that you think will sell right away don't, and things that you think you will have forever are gone right away. My friend Sid did pretty well. But me...Well, here's a rundown on how the day went and my profits:

To start the day, from our barn, I opened a box of two never used camp-chairs and found where mice had made a home...I was once again reassured that our barn is indeed a "mouse-free zone." Of course I threw everything away--Profit...zero-dollars

I did not a single nibble on an entire basket of vintage cookie cutters that I had priced at 50 cents each--I would have even taken a quarter for one. Profit...zero dollars

A buyer of a "Precious Moments Collectable" who also finagled a lower price on a couple of table cloths was caught by my friend and I trying to take a few things that she didn't pay for. Profit...$4.00 and skinned up shins and black-eye from when I tackled and wrestled the 80 pound elderly lady to the ground--Just kidding, I didn't tackle her! ;-)

Miscellaneous knick-knacks, cat related items, and an unused wedding present bought by non-descript buyers...Profit $15.00

Questions from several people if we were selling jewelry...Response: No--But wait a minute, where's that bracelet and the kleptomaniac senior citizen from earlier in the day? Profit...zero-dollars

Inquiry by various people who asked how much I was selling Hamlet for. Response: He's priceless...Profit...beyond measure.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Birthdays and Blackberries

Time...I don't know where it goes...Today is my birthday and since it's my last one that I'll celebrate in my 40's, I was trying to remember just what I was doing when I turned 40...I can't remember...It must've been pretty memorable...Time and the years really do seem to have a way of hurrying past. It has been a busy week for me. Along with working, Carl has been assigned to a "detail" at another government agency, which has him gone from home long hours. It has left me to take care of the crew alone; I don't know how single parents do it.

On the flip side my poison ivy is almost a bad memory now. It's all gone from my face, however it did end up spreading onto my hands. For those of you who've never had it, imagine having the feel of thick itchy sand in between your fingers--It's really miserable, I'll be so glad when it's all gone!! With your help I "think" I have it identified and am "leaving the leaves of three, be" because I do not want to go through this again anytime soon!!

In between my scratching, I did notice a few things that are happening around me. The first is Tanner. I would say that he's about 95% recovered from his bout with vestibular syndrome. I took these pictures on Tuesday evening and you can see that the tilt in his head is gone. The stagger to his walk is almost gone as well. Of course I'm thrilled and so relieved!! Tanner is now about 14 years old and looking at his pictures, I am reminded that he's been through so much in the 2 years that he's been with us. We've dealt with his having seizures, separation and storm anxiety, laryngeal paralysis, allergies and glaucoma. ALL of which I'm happy to say are things of the past for him. I really hope that the time that he has left with us can be quiet happy and healthy times for him.

Something else that snuck up on me is the ripening of the wild blackberries. For some reason, it seems early this year. But I guess since the strawberries have all but completed their task for the summer, it's their turn. We are lucky enough to have them growing in several places on our property, and unlike the poison ivy that we have all around, I couldn't be happier about it!

There is nothing like the sweetness of blackberries fresh from the patch! I remember as a kid when we would pick them for my Mom. The thought of her blackberry cobbler was incentive enough to brave seeing a snake and being scratched by the bushes. While I of course worry about seeing a snake, I am however in competition to pick the berries before our 2 berry EATERS Sheba and Rudi get to them. I'm not sure how they acquired their love for them or even realized they were there. It may very well have come from seeing me snack on them during a walk. Our boy Maguire who recently passed seemed to have been acquainted with them on his own because he knew exactly what they were and would so delicately eat them. Rudi and Sheba being girls are not nearly that graceful. They are bulldozing scavengers and their sharp sense of smell has enabled them to quickly find and polish off the ripened ones.

I did manage to get enough for a cobbler which I'll bake later and will celebrate my birthday at home before I'm off to Lancaster Pennsylvania for a visit with our friend Sid. As I write this, the sun has come out, my day lilies are in bloom, the birds are at the feeder, the pups are around my feet snoozing after their breakfast and a walk, it's a good start to a birthday. I hope you have a good day too!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Thursday of Three's & An Old Foe

I don't know what's happening to me. Maybe it's the thought of my birthday coming up and turning a whopping 49, that has made me reminiscent about my life and summertime. Last night I went out to the edge of the yard to look at the stars and try to video the lightning bugs (fire-flies) for those of you who've never seen them. For some reason it didn't work, but I'm not giving up. But as I stood there with 3 of our not-so-fearless dogs I also remembered that I'm afraid of being outside in the dark, so before it all turned into something from "The Blair Witch Project" I quickly got back inside.

Maybe one reason why I'm feeling this way is because this week I've also had the return of a summertime foe that has not been a part of my life for many years, and that's poison-ivy!! This week its very (!!)itchy-arrival has reminded me of all those summers when as a kid I was plagued with it. I don't know how I got it. The only thing that I can figure is that I must've come in contact with it while weeding my flowerbeds on Monday. That'll teach me to do yard work! But I have a "poison ivy rash" all over my face and near my eyes, which have been swollen from it for the last 2 days. I also have it on a few places on my hands. Thankfully medication is helping to ease the symptoms.

It's always good to "know your enemy" and I do think that I could have avoided all of this if I only knew what this "plant" called poison-ivy actually looked like. Everyone always says "it has 3 leaves." Okay, that's good to know, but do you have any idea how many things have 3 leaves or come in threes around here?
Do you see my point?? I know we need to get rid of it. Anything that has the word "poison" in it can't be good anyway. But since I have no idea what the enemy looks like, for now I won't be evicting something that wants to grow in my yard--I'll just sit on my porch or stay inside and scratch.