Monday, February 28, 2011

A Good Day to Play!

~Rudi/left - Josh on the right~

It was such a beautiful day in Virginia on Sunday!  The warmth of the sun and spring that was in the air truly energized all of us!  The dogs wanted to play a round of frisbee.  How did I know that?  Rudi magically found a frisbee that had been lost months ago. How do they find these things?  The first games of spring are always a lot of fun and I realized how much I''ve missed warm weather and just being outside

I did stop at the grocery store on the way home from church.  I never shop on Sunday, but I'd not gone on Saturday.  But as I was standing in the shorter express line of  '15 items or less,' I counted, and the person in front of me had 19.  Why do people do this?  I always think they need to have their rights read to them and they should be arrested and hauled off when this happens--But then as I was taking my things out of the basket, and counting, I realized I had 18.  I tried to hide the 3 little cans of cat food in case the person in back of me noticed...Maybe we shouldn't be so harsh with those that break that rule--At least not on such a beautiful spring day!  (Below: left Sheba - Rudi right)
I hope your week is off to a good start! 
(Below: Rudi) 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Almost on Time!

With Carl working nights for now, that leaves yours truly to get the dogs walked and fed in the morning.  Being a bit obsessive compulsive, I try to stay on schedule in the morning by doing each task at the same time.  But for some reason, if I end up getting behind, I can never make up that lost time and I end up being late for work.  That's what happened on Friday morning.  While I did oversleep just a little, I was doing okay with my time.  I was all ready for work--With efficiency and focus the dogs had all been walked, fed, talked to and hugged--I let them outside one last time, and to get them to come back inside, I gave them a treat.  All the dogs were happy and accounted for...Except for one little sheep...

A look out in the yard revealed this.
A call to the culprit, who was not happy about leaving his job undone...
And I was late for work.  You just can't make up the time it takes to give a dog a 'quick' bath! 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Behind and Burned Out

To start, my apologies for not visiting your blogs this week!  I so enjoy starting and ending my day by reading your posts and catching up on news in your corner of the world.  But this week something happened...

I didn't even enjoy my husbands birthday dinner at our favorite restaurant or a snowfall this week...
Picking up Carl's car from the repair shop today did little to lift my spirits...

I think my family drama, work, and the end of the winter, have left me tired and burned out.  The lack of sun shining days hasn't helped either!  I decided that nothing recharges your inner batteries better than getting away.  So, I tried to wrangle an invitation from my very good friend in Pennsylvania.  Despite dropping a number of hints, no offer to come and visit her was mentioned...So, it was time to go to another plan. 

I'd been thinking of a friend, Ginny that moved to Tennessee about 6 years ago.  She and her husband have a dog-friendly cabin that they rent out on their Llama farm.  Ginny has been asking me for several years to come down for a visit.  The cabin was available in a couple of weeks, Carl and I both got a few days off work, and so I made the reservation.  It's all set.  We'll take the dogs with us that can't be trusted at home with the remote and the internet, and leave the others to be cared for by our dog-walker.  I can't wait!  

Knowing we're going to be getting away in a couple of weeks really lifts my spirits--That and lunch I had this afternoon with my two good friends.

Again, I'm sorry I've not visited your blogs this week. 
I look forward to getting all caught up on your news!!
~Am I the only one with problems seeing all the updates on my dashboard?~  
(Below: Tanner)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Smells of Saturday

The weather remains a mix of all seasons. On Friday, we had a warm day that hardly required a sweater. Today, it feels like February again and there may be a rainy snow mix at the start of the work week. The high winds that have been wreaking havoc around us the last couple of days toppled our nation's live Christmas Tree. It had stood on the Ellipse since 1978, and had been through five different presidencies in its time. Thankfully here, we've not lost our power and had no damage to any of our trees, other than a few small branches.  

This morning, it was our cat, CC's turn to go to the vet. She was one year past her yearly exam and needed a rabies vaccine. My thought to get her to the vet was put on the front burner when a couple of nights ago, she was outside growling at something. This afternoon, I did spot this visitor. Although it's February and it's a skunks-month for finding romance, I'm hopeful that it will want to be alone and not stay around--As you know, nothing says I want to be alone quite like an atomized sulfur cloud does! 
The dogs however don't know that.  They are still rolling on the exact spot where the dead mole was picked up 3 days ago. Given the choice of their rolling on the spot where there was a mole or meeting the skunk, it's an easy choice to make--At least for me! 

Friday, February 18, 2011

It's All About Charlie!

Two scoldings at the groomers  yesterday.  One from Irina (groomer) who reminded me when I came to pick Charlie up, about his weight and to not wait 4 months to bring him back.  The other from Charlie telling me that he'd had a really difficult day at the spa and could we please go through the drive-thru at McDonalds for a cheeseburger--Okay, I was hungry and figured that's what he would have said...But since he is the star of our household and much of the time the world revolves around him, one thing is for sure, he really did want to hear that he smelled wonderful and looked great!  

Personally, I can never decide which look of Charlie's I like the best.  I really love shaggy-dogs (who doesn't?) but then there's his appearance when he's fresh from the groomers that does seem a bit more polished.  What do you think?    

Thursday, February 17, 2011

All Eyes on Tanner

No one loves a good snow fall more than I do!  But the warmer temps this week have me hoping that the winter is finally behind us.  The signs of spring are starting to appear everywhere.  Birds can now be heard singing in the morning.  And yesterday on the way to work, I saw my first groundhog.  Today, Charlie is at the groomers for his 'spring do.'  The groomer, Irina, who is originally from Romania, with her heavy accent scolded me for waiting so long to bring him in and for the extra weight he's put on over the winter.  Her 'lecture' ended with giving me free samples of a lower calorie kibble to try.

Once back home, Carl and I did a little bit of yard clean up.  Yesterday Rudi and Sheba found a dead mole in the yard that they both of course rolled on.  Carl was unable to find it again and I told him to take Rudi with him, and she'd show him where it was.  Not really believing me, he took her with him--As you can see in the picture, thrilled with the chance to roll on the mole again, she took him right to it.     

Tanner started his new medication on Monday.  The medication called 'Doxepin' has antihistamine effects in dogs but is labeled as an antidepressant.  As you know, his getting overly excited is when he has problems breathing.  So our hope is this medication will alleviate that.  So far, I've no idea if it's working or not. His breathing still sounds the same to me.  The precautions and side effects in taking the medication warn against his drinking and driving while taking it.  It also says that when taking Doxepin suicidal thoughts could develop.  I'm wondering how I will know if Tanner develops that urge to 'end it all?'  Will he start jumping off the three steps into the garage? Start tightening his collar?  Develop this urge to run out in front of cars?  How will I know?  I guess we'll all just have to keep an eye on him...

(Hamlet, front--Tanner foreground)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Best In Show!

Today is the first day of the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. Winning 'Best In Show at Westminster' has become the most-coveted award in the dog show world. I've always enjoyed watching the show, and seeing and hearing about all the different breeds of dogs.
It always reminds me of another dog show that I attended a few years ago in Gettysburg  Pennsylvania. The Golden Retriever Club of America was having their national event. Golden Retrievers from all over the United States came to compete in everything from conformation to obedience. One of the events held during the week was called 'The Rescue Parade.' Since our Golden Retriever Club was hosting 'the National' as president of the rescue, I was asked to take charge of 'The Rescue Parade.'

For those of you who have never attended one, I find it to be a very touching event. It is one where rescued dogs have their moment to be the star and in the spotlight.  As they walk around the center show ring, their story of rescue is told. We start with the oldest Golden and end with the youngest.  When I did the parade, each dog was given a rosette (ribbon) with their name and a toy as they left the ring. Ed Rendell, the Governor of Pennsylvania even participated by bringing his 2 rescued Golden Retrievers.

At the start of the parade, the gentleman, named Bob, who was announcing the event said something, that to me, was so poignant and I've never forgotten it. He said that 'the dogs that were about to enter the show-ring will never win best in show. But what they had won, was a place in our hearts and home.' Bob was so right. No, the dogs that most of us have never will compete for the coveted title of Best in Show at Westminster or win any other dog show.  But to me, my dogs and I will always have something better than that, each other.

Happy Valentines Day everyone!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

It Was Bound to Happen

With the miles that we drive weekly, it was bound to happen...I was worried when Carl wasn't home by midnight.  And when the phone rang, I knew right away what it was about, even before I saw on the caller ID that it was him.  In a split-second a deer jumped in front of his car, there was no time to swerve or stop.  Carl of course stopped and checked and thankfully the deer didn't suffer; only Carl and his much loved car have.  They both arrived home via a tow-service about 2 o'clock this morning, spirits broken.  

Rudi, trying to make the damage look a bit better...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Calm After the Storm

Tanner continues to have problems breathing.  On Thursday there was yet another episode where he was clearly in distress and unable to breathe.  Though not as severe as the first time, (still a little pink in his tongue) I waited a few minutes to see if it would pass.  When it didn't, I put Tanner into my van and we were off to the emergency vet.  His breathing did seem to be improving along the way. This was why in my mind I marked a place in the trip that if he wasn't better by the time we reached it, I would let them know that we were coming.  When we got to the landmark, Tanner was comfortable, his head was up and he was okay.  I stopped and made sure and could easily see that the color to his tongue and gums had returned.  I turned around and went home. 

The vet that Tanner sees wasn't working Thursday and so I spoke with her on Friday.  There is a human medication that has been used to ease the symptoms of laryngeal paralysis in dogs.  It's a bit experimental in its use for this condition--My vet has not given this medication to treat laryngeal paralysis, but has given it for use with animals that have skin conditions. Since it has very few, if any, side effects we've decided to try it and see if it helps.  OF COURSE the pharmacy didn't have the medication, so I'll have to get it on Monday.  (I know there are some readers of this blog who like to know the names of medications, so I'll post its name when I pick it up--All I  know is that it's an antihistamine that he'll take twice a day.)   


My day today has been a welcome calm after the storm of the week.  The 'issue' with my sister and her family only escalated after I'd decided to wash my hands of them.  There will still be a few storms that come from all of this, but I remain hopeful that they will pass.  Thank-you all for your kind and thoughtful comments of support on my last post.  Your kindness and friendship continue to humble and strengthen me. 

This evening I am looking forward to sitting at my computer, with a blanket on my lap, the dogs around me and catching up on your blogs.  I hope you're having an enjoyable weekend! 
~Winter Wren~

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Sleepless Night

~Rudi & Charlie~

I was awakened in the early morning hours by Rudi, whining and pacing around the bed. She knew there wasn't room for her because Josh and Charlie (and the cat) had claimed a place last evening when we went to bed. My telling her to 'go lay down' fell on her selective hearing.  I knew what was coming next--I was right--She tried to jump on the bed anyway. Then even though she hadn't 'asked,' I got up to let her outside. I knew that would be her next request.

I wasn't sleeping all that well anyway and so I was unable to get back to sleep. I've had yet another falling out with my sister. This time two of her adult children are involved. The whole incident, that is so trivial, sophomoric and ridiculous has left me again stunned and hurt by their actions towards me. I'm worn out from it all...But in the quiet moments of the morning I really do try to remain positive and remember the good things in my life. 

I received an unexpected note yesterday from the son of a co-worker.  He's in his last year of high school and had a class assignment to compare two of the newspapers in the area, The Washington Post, and The Washington Times. He was a bit frantic because despite looking everywhere and calling everyone, a copy of The Times could not be found.  But I happened to be at a local store, saw the paper and bought a copy for him. His mother really appreciated it, and by what he wrote in his card, I think he did too...The card was totally unnecessary, but very thoughtful and his 'way with words' gave me a bit of a chuckle.   

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

That Hindsight Thing!

I have to admit that while I enjoy spending time with Carl, there are times that when he's working on the weekends, and I don't mind his being gone all day.  This wasn't the case on Saturday.  I was looking forward to the day.  But when I went to run errands in the early afternoon, I let the dogs out one last time and noticed that our heat-pump had frost all over its outside.  A closer look and I could see that there was a significant amount of ice built up on the inside. I had noticed earlier in the week that ice had formed along the bottom, but never thought much about it.  I 'googled' the problem on the internet and read that it could just be lack of air circulation and the ice should be removed. I don't know how many buckets of hot water I poured on the ice to thaw everything.  I even laid on the ground in an effort to break all the ice up underneath--After 2 hours of back-breaking work that I know Carl could have done in half the time, I had cleared most of the ice and was feeling pretty good about what I'd been able to do.  I turned the system back on and waited.  A little while later I went out and looked at it, and could see frost was forming again...I called my brother who told me to turn the thermostat to 'emergency heat' and call someone.  I didn't know whether to be upset about the 2 hours I spent laying on the cold-wet-ground or because we're going to be charged $100 JUST to get someone to come to the house to look at it.  Feeling defeated, worn out and cold I did the only thing I could do--I made a chocolate cake (from scratch) and took a nap.

Carl was thankfully off of work on Monday and someone came to look at it.  A circuit board or something is out and needs to be ordered and will be put in later in the week.  I'll let him handle it.  All I know is it's a fix that will cost about $500.  It would have cost us only a deductible if we'd renewed our home warranty at the end of last year.  What's that saying about hindsight? 

In hindsight I should have also not waited to make a grooming appointment for Charlie. His coat is long and thick, and starting to mat a bit.  But I kind of like the shaggy-dog look--He's well suited for the cold weather, don't you think?     

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Reappearance of My Arch-Enemy

~Hamlet, Sleeping with the Enemy~ 
In July of 1863 Robert E. Lee retreated south and General Mead, who commanded the Union Army of the Potomac, crossed the river into Loudoun County from Brunswick Maryland.  He headquartered briefly in the town where I live, before moving into the surrounding area.  If only my arch-enemy the brown marmorated stink bug would follow suit and leave town too.  Warmer temps have brought this foe, one that I truly despise, out of its winter hiding place inside our house.  While there as not as many as there are in late summer, they are moving pretty slow, and are unable to fly.  But to me, none of that matters, they are still practically everywhere and on everything--sometimes even us. The stink-bug has one enemy that easily kills it, the cold.  But like true soldiers, they are afraid of nothing.  However, I have to be honest because I know there are not many things that are afraid of me or the Goldens...sigh... 

Wendy in the only place that is free of stink-bugs.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thursday Predictions

Yesterday the country's most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring.  He even went out on a limb to forecast that his state's Pittsburgh Steelers will win the Super Bowl; we'll see.  I'm going to predict that even if the dogs and I do another snow-dance, we won't get any more 'significant snow' because we've finally found someone to plow out our drive way when needed.

The massive storm that clobbered much of the country totally missed us here in Northern Virginia.  We were even supposed to get an ice storm and it missed us too.  What we have gotten are cold high winds.  Last evening just after the dogs were all fed and happy, I settled into the evening of watching American Idol and enjoying a 'white-pizza' that I'd picked up, and the lights went out.  Thrown into pitch blackness, I did the only thing I could do, finished dinner and went to bed early.  The power came back on around the time Carl arrived home from work.  This morning the wind is still blowing, the temps are below freezing, but it's beautiful and clear.  After several days of clouds, it's so good to have the sun back
After errands this morning, I'm looking forward to catching up...But I'm predicting there may be a nap too.