Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Happiness Makeover

For about the last week I have been experiencing a bit of "blog-writers-block." It hasn't come just from not knowing what to say on my own blog, but yours too. I think that part of it just comes from the long hours that Carl is gone and I'm left to "do it all." At the end of my own work day, I'm worn out from it all.

However, after work today I will be on vacation and will begin what I've dubbed my "happiness-makeover!" What am I going to be doing? Well, I'm going to start by catching up on my my blog visits, (I've really missed reading what you all are up to!) have lunch with friends, goof off, and then goof off some more; all things that make me happy!

As you may guess, I'm really looking forward to it --Just like the dogs look forward to their dinner! Isn't this picture of EVERYONE a 'crack-up?' Good thing I have a big and wide kitchen!

See you all very soon!! Enjoy your Wednesday!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Confession Time

Some of you have known me for some time, so I'll make a confession. One thing that I sometimes like to do, late at night when all is quiet is watch an infomercial or two. Late last evening when I was taking pictures of the beautiful Harvest moon, this is what I did afterwards. I know, it's crazy, and Carl doesn't quiet understand it. But I have found that it's not the products themselves that intrigue me. I’m drawn to what it does for the people who use them.

Think about it. Wouldn't it be great to make your life perfect with the use of one single product? To be able to improve your overall health by simply taking miracle pills, make a complete gourmet meal using only one pan and have a knife that will cut through a broom handle and thinly slice a tomato afterwards? I think this is what keeps me glued to the screen. There’s something compelling about the belief that a supplement, pan, utensil or a single piece of exercise equipment will somehow drastically change my life for the better.

So just why do people spend their hard earned money buying things like Colon Cleanse and the X-Press-Redi-Set-Go? After all, it's not as if these are must-have items which we need in order to survive. Mankind has endured for thousands of years before the invention of the Kangaroo Keeper and will most likely endure long after the last order for the Garden Groom has been placed. I realize that some of these products really do work and are quite handy. But at three o'clock in the morning and under the spell of a full moon while some of these might look like a good investment, in the light of day and when the credit card bills come, these maybe won't look so good after all.
Okay, I've confessed. Now it's your turn to admit if you've ever bought anything from a late-night infomercial--What was it, and did it work?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Renegades of Golden Pines

Nothing strikes fear into my aging heart quicker than four renegade dogs who don't have their leashes on when they are outside the fence--This fear is what surfaced this morning when I opened the door inside our house to let the dogs into the garage to get ready for their morning walk. I opened the door and as the dogs went past me I quickly saw it, the garage door that had been left open last night! Panic and pandemonium erupted as the siren of my voice broke the silence of the beautiful fall morning. I immediately called to the dogs about going for a car-ride which brought back renegade number one, Charlie, who would rather go for a ride than a walk (sucker!!). Captured inside the van we left Charlie and we turned our attention to the Big Boy gang called the Chub Club. Toby and Bubba who have been corrupted by their newest member Sam (our boy Sam, not Doris's Sam) quickly realized they were unleashed and made their run to freedom and liberation, never looking back! Toby and Bubba not being experienced at the art of escaping and who are a bit slower were easily caught and returned to captivity. However the lead renegade Sam, (pictured) is a bit more seasoned. He knew better than to believe my story about giving him a treat--I even think I saw him roll his eyes at me when he looked back for just a moment. With distance quickly coming between us, it was becoming clear to me that given the direction and roughness of the terrain that Sam was going to make a successful getaway and we may not see him again...Then suddenly the inevitable happened--Sam had to stop for a potty-break and he was nabbed by the tail--Thank-you Mother Nature!

Even though it was a few hours ago and all residents of Golden Pines have been counted and recounted and there have been several role calls I still feel like someone is missing...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Sad Rite of Passage

I am someone who has lived in both the city and the country. I know there are many that love the hustle and bustle, the noise and all that comes from being in the city. But for me, I'm soothed by a chorus of birds, frogs, crickets, and cicadas and being able to see the deer grazing in my yard. I also enjoy this time of year when I can have the windows open and enjoy the cool breeze and hear the wind in the trees and other nighttime sounds.

Living in the country means that I can get up at dawn and walk the dogs in my pajamas, dance in the driveway and sing out loud and off key and never worry about a neighbor seeing or hearing me.

This is our third year living on Mountain Road. Last night I was reminded of a sound of the country that I do not enjoy hearing and that is the sound of a cow who has been separated from her calf. Each year about this time the farmer across the road takes the calves away from their Mothers to be weaned. Last night after I went to bed, and the dogs were all settled in, above all the other night-noises, the sound that drifted from across the road was the bellowing of the cows crying for one another. It is such a sad mournful cry and it went on all night and is continuing this afternoon. I know it's a part of life, and as Lynn from Rocky Creek Scottie Adventures said on my Facebook page that weaning "is a rite of passage to becoming an adult," and I totally agree, but I think it's kind of a sad one too. (This picture was taken earlier this summer)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Old Sam

"Old Sam" who you all know is the 15 year old we just took in, came to us on August 20th. This morning when I bent over to talk to him and say good morning he looked at me and wagged his tail for the first time--It only took 24 days! A good start to the week! I hope you have a good one too!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Glimpses of Fall

We had a much needed rainfall this morning. Everything was so quiet and I felt like everything was silently just soaking it up.

I am feeling a bit better than I was on Wednesday and Thursday. Many thanks to all of you for your encouragement and positive thoughts! Its been a nice quiet weekend and I'm feeling rested and a bit more optimistic. Carl was so nice and taught my Sunday school class for me, which I really appreciated!
I did notice this weekend that glimpses of fall are starting to show.
Most of the Black-eyed Susan's have only their black-eyes left...

Unfortunately the 'stinking-stink-bugs' are coming back in masses just to make my life miserable! The Hydrangea looks a little low...

Another sign of Fall are the the Canadian Geese overhead who are pointing the way to warmer weather! But I'm not sure that was south, or is it?
Our resident groundhog is "hogging" whatever he can find--Notice his cheeks have food in them.

The change of weather also means the shedding-begins for the dogs--Actually it's in full swing and I brushed (or Furminated) all this off Rudi this morning. I can feel a hairball coming on! Another sure sign of Fall is that football season has started!! My favorite team, the Washington Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys tonight!! I hope you've all had a great weekend--Are you seeing the start of the change of seasons too?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A 9-11 Story--Two Goldens Who Survived

On September 11th, my mind of course goes back to what started out as a sunny and beautiful Tuesday morning and turned into an unthinkable nightmare. We lived here in the Washington DC area and Carl was working not far from the Pentagon. While we were not directly affected by those events, we knew people who were.

As you know there are many heroes and stories of that day. One story in particular that really touches my heart is the story of 2 Golden Retrievers in New York City (not far from Ground Zero) named Hope and Darwin who survived that day. Eric and Nan now live just down the road from us here in Northern Virginia. We became friends when they adopted one of our foster dogs named Abby. I heard from Nan this morning and like so many of us, she wonders how it could be 9 years.

Today I'd like to share Nan's very compelling story with you. You can read the story by clicking here to get to a link that also provides pictures.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Mental Health Wednesday

I've felt it coming on and this morning I woke up in a somewhat depressed state of mind. I am not entirely sure how or why it has happened. But I had to go to work and I felt like I should just keep going and see what the day brought and maybe I could shake the feeling. It didn't help. This morning at work I felt like I was being painted into a corner and all I could feel was an avalanche of negativity and moody-grouchy patients didn't help. With no patients scheduled after lunch, I asked the doctor if I could leave for the afternoon. I thought that if I could just get away I could focus on trying to lift my mood. I had a few errands to run and I thought that would be a start to figure it all out.

Just as I left the office I decided that today was the day I was going to raid an apple tree across the road from where I work. It's located next to a closed pre-school and the last few weeks I've been noticing that the tree is full of apples. With no one around I decided it would probably be okay to just go and pick them. I realized in looking at the apples that they are overripe and you can see that they are not the best looking apples--I should have gotten them when I first noticed them. I picked a grocery bag full and I think that I'll cut up some for the dogs and feed the rest to the deer. At least they won't be going to waste. There are still a lot more and I think I'll get the rest on Friday.

During my errands I kept mulling over everything that was bothering me. But I realized that trying to sort it all out was like trying to solve a complex math problem while trying to keep myself from drowning at the same time. So I just stopped trying to figure it all out.

Once home I was greeted by the dogs who were happy to see me. We did our afternoon walk and played frisbee. Afterwards we all took a nap. To fit the mood and the direction of they day, I burned the dogs dinner. They didn't complain or act like they even noticed. I appreciated that. Afterwards we sat on the porch and as the sun set, geese were flying over. It was so peaceful and quiet sitting there with the dogs, and as night fell, I realized that things seem a bit brighter.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Pecking Order and The Chub Club

At our house there is an interesting pack dynamic. We are so lucky in that all the dogs get along with one another and fights are very rare. If they do occur it almost always involves Sheba who is the youngest at almost 5 years old and who is the one I consider our "problem child." Sheba is very affectionate, she listens really well and is easy going, but around the other dogs she can be the most moody and short-tempered of any of them. At times she will challenge those above her in the pecking order and they very quickly put her in back in her place. Despite this, I really think that the reason all the dogs get along has to do with their ages and that they all are Goldens, with the exception of Charlie of course.

Within the pack there is what I call the "core group." This group consists of Wendy who is the Matriarch, Rudi, the top dog, CarrieAnne and Josh, They have been together for more than 7 years and Charlie and Sheba joined about 4 years ago. They are a pretty tight-knit group. I think it's because they really grew up together. But they seem to have a respect for one another and they are almost always together in the same room. It's interesting at least to me, that none of the new comers have been given a "membership" into this club, and I don't really know why. However I think that as long as all the dogs know they have a place with us, there is a harmony and balance within the pack.

This brings me to "our boy" Sam, (pictured on the right with Rudi). He arrived here almost exactly a year ago. While he gets along with all the dogs and they get along with him, Sam really has wanted so much to play with Sheba and the others. They pretty much ignore him and he has stayed on the outside not really having another dog to play with. (Kinda sad I know)

That all changed with the arrival of he Chub Brothers, Bubba and Toby. Sam instantly connected with them and was accepted into the club of this dynamic duo. The three of them have formed what I have been calling "The Chub Club." Sam will even wash Bubba's face.
The 3 of them are almost always together and I have to admit Sam seems a bit more content. I think Sam even looks like he belongs with them, don't you? (The below picture is Sam on the left, Bubba in the middle, Toby on the right). But wait, I got this e-mail from the rescue the other day...

Hey Kim,

How is the swimming going for Bubba and how is Toby?Its been awhile that they have been with you and am wondering if they might be ready to have their sweet faces on the web and put on the available dog list? Or not yet? Let us know.
Back to reality and remembering that "The Chub Brothers" are here to find a new home. However I have to be honest, because I'm wondering when and how do I tell the rescue that these boys aren't going anywhere, and it's all Sam's fault?!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Weekend and Sam and Doris

It's Labor Day weekend here in the US and Canada! Labor Day is great for a lot of reasons because there are so many possibilities of things to do on a long weekend! One thing a lot of people use a long weekend for is to finish up summer projects--That's what it is for us--We've FINALLY finished painting our barn and the trim on our house, which by the way I hate to admit was started LAST fall! The weather certainly does have a fall feel to it! We've turned off the air-conditioning and opened up the windows. The dogs really loved being able to be outside in this great weather, especially Charlie who has been out in the yard most of the day.
When we were done painting we sat on the porch for a while, read magazines and relaxed with the dogs. As usual, its been another busy and long week for Carl and I, and we just love to be able to relax and just take it easy.
I did hear from "Sam's sister" Patty this week. She called me on Thursday to tell me that her Mom, Doris was still really missing Sam and wanted her to call me and find out how he was doing. Apparently Doris's transition into her new home is off to a bit of a bumpy start because during her first week she cried quite a bit and hardly left her room. Patty admitted that despite how her Mom was feeling, she'd been putting off calling because she didn't want to bother me. Of course I told her she could and should call anytime, and that I was going to e-mail them that evening, but she had beaten me to it by calling. We had a nice chat and I promised her that I would send her weekly updates for her to pass onto her Mom and when she felt her Mom was strong enough, I would bring Sam to see her. I have to admit that I felt a bit guilty for being out of touch and I was again a bit sad for Doris.

Just before bedtime that night, I'd let Sam out into the yard with the other dogs. He usually doesn't go far. In his old age, Sam has pretty much transformed his walks into a simple process of elimination—a dutiful, head-down trudge. When finished, he walks back to the porch, seemingly oblivious to his surroundings, absorbed in the task of placing foot before foot before foot before foot....But I guess I'd left him out there longer than I should have or he got disoriented because when I went to let him in he wasn't with the others. I realized that he'd wandered into the back part of our fenced yard and into the pitch-darkness. As Sam and I slowly walked back towards the house, I couldn't help but think about he and Doris. The thought occurred to me that Carl and I are merely Sam's caretaker of his physical well being. He appears to be content, he seems happy to see us when we return, eats his meals, and will rub his head on your leg when you talk to him and pet and scratch him. But I know that his heart belongs to Doris, the one he grew old and frail with. How I wish they could be together.