Tuesday, December 14, 2021

A Christmas Tradition

Every single year I make an annual pilgrimage to a German grocery store, named Aldi's and buy a German Christmas stollen. I'll confess, that I'm not a huge fan of them. But for more years than I can remember, my Mom always bought them and sent me a couple for the holidays. She really loved stollen and even kept a few in her freezer to have through the year, enjoying a piece with a cup of tea. So I do the same. I buy a loaf from Aldi's of the marzipan stollen, and have a piece with a cup of tea and remember her. It's a Christmas tradition. Do you have any Christmas traditions like this? 

I hope your week is off to a good start! 

**For those who don't know what stollen is, here's a bit of it's story.

Stollen is a cake like yeast bread that usually has dried or candied fruit, orange and lemon zest, spice and cardamom spices for flavoring.  It is coated with powdered sugar or icing sugar and often containing marzipan. It was also called Striezel or Christstollen. Striezel is a word for loaf, and the shape of the bread along with being dusted with powdered sugar was a symbolic shape of the baby Jesus in swaddling clothes so it was also called Christstollen.

Dresden Stollen is said by some historians to have originated in 1329 as a result of a contest offered by the Bishop of Nauruburg. Bakers in the region produced a wonderful bread baked with the finest butter, sugar, raisins, citron and other specialty ingredients. The Bishop enjoyed the stollen so much that he ordered a quantity of grain saved for stollen only.

Stollen is mentioned for the first time in 1474 in the accounts of the Christian Hospital of St. Bartholomew in Dresden where it is referred to as a cake for the fasting period, consisting of only flour, oats and water as required by Church dogma.

Stollen became such a part of Dresdeners' lives that it was cut and served with special, stollen only utensils. It was also tradition that the first piece of stollen was set aside and kept to ensure the family would be able to afford a stollen the following year and the last piece saved to ensure the family had enough food for the year.

~Jake, hoping for a bite of stollen ❤~

Sunday, December 12, 2021

We Are Relaxed and Recharged

Well, after my last post about how bad I felt about everything, this past week could not have been more different than the previous one. Much like the weather has been from one day to the next. 

~Shelby and Max enjoying a sunny Sunday morning~

With Hansel and Gretel gone, even getting caught in traffic on the way home wasn't a problem because I wasn't feeling the pressure to get home. 

But I think the dogs were as worn out as I was.  The cats probably were too. 

~Ms.Yellow, not worried about who may be stalking her~

And, knock, knock, knock on wood, because of all of that, I've decided to really try to not take any new comers for now.  

~Jack is always okay with no newcomers!~

Having said that, back a couple of months ago, I agreed to keep a pair of foster dogs for the Golden Retriever Rescue over the holidays, which I think will be fine. They, Ginger and Charlie, were with us before, for a very short time, so knowing them already, I think (and hope) it'll be a quiet holiday for us. 

~Jake, he's fine with whatever happens~

Of course now that I've said that, that's probably what won't happen. But we can hope, right? 

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Uncomplicated Becomes Complicated

This past week was not exactly my best and I was not at my best.

~Out my front window~

On Monday, I'd gone into the hospital for what was supposed to only be for an "uncomplicated test" that even though required general anesthesia, I'd be out and on my way home by early afternoon. Well, at least that was the plan. That's not what happened. There was a small "complication" and the doctor thought it best to stay overnight. I was never, ever expecting that, and I was totally unprepared. I didn't even have a phone charger. Thankfully there were no complications overnight and I was feeling better and on my way home early Tuesday afternoon. I will add that the nurses were so nice, and did a wonderful job taking care of me, even if they did come in every 3 hours and woke me up to take my temperature and blood-pressure. 

~Settled in my boring hospital room~

I don't even have to say that it totally threw me off. I went back to work on Wednesday, exhausted and my sleep-cycle totally out of synch. I did my best, but by Wednesday night and into Thursday morning, I was having a hard time keeping it all together and at home alone, I was barely hanging on. I had so much to do, and it needed to get done. 

The needed respite came mid-morning when Lab Rescue contacted me and said that the kennel had boarding space for Hansel and Gretel. I was so sad to have to take them back to boarding. 


I have really grown to love those two. And even though it was not what I wanted, it was what was needed. We tried to get them used to being around the cats, but that urge to chase and bark at them just couldn't be contained or controlled. We all really miss them. Especially Ree, who loved playing with them too. 

Jack and Shelby also had a yearly vet appointment, and by late afternoon, I was crying again as I dropped off Hansel and Gretel for boarding. I just kept going. I had to. My office holiday party at a local restaurant was Friday afternoon, and I was the sole planner and organizer for our office of 11 people. I somehow managed to get the last minute preparations all done and it was a nice party. 

I'm usually one of the last to leave any event like this. But not this time. I was the first to leave. I came home got the dogs fed, and I was in bed by 8:30. 

~A very shaggy-Max~

Today has been a day of napping and getting caught up. I still have one more day before I get to do the week all over again. It goes without saying that it will hopefully not be as complicated as the one that I'm grateful is in the rearview mirror. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Good-Bye to Our Sweet Girl, Sheeba

It is with an overwhelming sadness that I tell you that Sheeba, who we "officially" adopted not even two weeks ago, left us for the Rainbow Bridge yesterday. 

~Last photo of Sheeba taken on November 12th~

From the time I first met Sheeba in early July, I loved her. In her 140-ish days with us, she found endless bowls of food, soft dog beds and our bed to sleep on, and whatever medications were needed to relieve her aches, pains, and her tummy troubles. 

While with us Sheeba forged canine and feline friendships, and the two of us formed what I can only describe as a true bond.💔. 

I will miss her sticking her head in the shower and barking for me to hurry up and get her breakfast - the same bark I'd hear while fixing her dinner, and telling us it was time for bed, and the one telling me to ask one of the dogs to move so she could come and lay at my feet. More than anything I'll miss Sheeba always being underfoot, and following me every where, and waiting patiently and sometimes impatiently by the door for my return. 

~First photo of Sheeba in July~

Our time with her, was of course way too short. But I have no regrets. I never do. It's always an honor get to know, love and care for a dog like Sheeba, who at more than 14 years old was a true treasure. 

Rest now my sweet girl, Sheeba, and know that you were so loved and will be and are so missed.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Hansel and Gretel Arrive at Golden Pines

Want to know what's been taking my time?  Well, it's the new arrivals at Golden Pines.

It all began exactly a month ago, on October 21st, when my longtime friend on the board of the Golden Retriever Rescue shared on my Facebook page, this photo of a senior Lab in a shelter in North Carolina. 

And then there was this photo that went with it ....

Then there was another ....
I don't even have to say that I was totally smitten by this lost girl, that the shelter named Gretel. 

But there was more. Gretel had been found with another Black Lab, that the shelter named Hansel (below) Both are estimated to be about 12 years old. And what their relationship is to one another is anyone's guess. But there is definitely a relationship and a bond between the two.
Gretel's photo on the website got a lot of attention. There were more than 3,000 shares of her photo, and many offers from people willing to go the shelter and adopt her.  Hansel's photo didn't garner that much attention, just over 500 shares, and very few offers from people wanting to meet him. I am quite sure it's because his shelter-photo (above) didn't grab your heart like Gretel's had. 

I let Lab Rescue know about this pair, as did many others. Fast forward through the evaluation from the Rescue, and soon transport from North Carolina to Virginia was being arranged for them.

I followed all of that. Something about this lost-boy and lost-girl, that I just couldn't forget about. And I really wanted to meet that girl that had stolen my heart. And when I found out that they were at a nearby vet, I sheepishly made an offer to foster them. 

So, Hansel and Gretel arrived a week ago Thursday. This friendly and energetic duo were constant motion those first few days. They were a blur as they ran and happily played together in our yard. 
The end of the first day they were wide-eyed and totally exhausted. 
They have met and get along with our crew. They are really a nice and fun pair! They do have a few issues regarding their health, but we're working through them. And at some point in time, Gretel who shows all the outward signs of having had puppies, will need to be spayed. 

But there's been one problem. Our cats. They are way more reactive to them than I'm comfortable with. They bark at and chase them, and I'm quite sure the cats have each used at least one or two of their 9 lives being just barely a whisker faster than they are. So, unfortunately, I've had to ask for them to be moved to another foster home. And until that happens, the cats are being kept safe, and we get to have fun getting to know and enjoy Hansel and Gretel. 

At this moment, of course, I don't know what their entire story will be, or where they will end up.  But I do know, that Hansel and Gretel will live happily-ever-after. ❤



Friday, November 12, 2021

Adopt a Senior Pet Month

 November is *Adopt a Senior Pet Month* And Lab Rescue is being bombarded with senior dogs right now, and they aren't able to take them all. So, to help make room for another senior dog that needs a place to go, I decided to adopt our "hospice foster girl Sheeba."  

At more than 14 years old, and diagnosed with cancer in the spring, I know I'll never know Sheeba as a vibrant and healthy Lab. But none of that matters, that's not why we love her. We love her for who she is in this moment, which is a sweet, gentle, easy going, but stubborn and independent girl that barks to let me know she wants her dinner on time and loves to sleep on the bed. 

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Fun with Jake!

Can I just say that we totally adore our foster boy, Jake?  For the two-ish months he's been here, we've had a lot of fun with him. 

A trip to the groomer meant that he has undergone a bit of a transformation on the outside. 

~Jake's instant weight loss!~
But on the inside, Jake is easy going. 

He helped me "can." 😊

And he gets along well all the dogs and with the cats too. 

Jake was also willing and a great sport when it came time for me to put on a Halloween Hat. 

Todd, wasn't so much, and let me know what he thought of all that Halloween costume nonsense.

Understandable. He has a reputation to maintain. 

Happy Halloween everyone!  Can you believe that it's November already?

Sunday, October 24, 2021


One of the things that has been bothering me for months about our dogs, is that they couldn't all be together at once. When you have different personalities, sometimes, it's just not possible. So, to keep  everyone safe, we "manage" those dogs, keeping one dog separated from the another. 

The dog that we are "managing" the most, is none other, than you guessed it, Todd. 

Knowing that our foster boy Jack, doesn't like the boys as much, we kept he and Todd away from each other. If one was outside, the other was free in the house. If Todd was inside, Jack was outside. In the evenings, Todd stayed locked in his crate, and Jack was allowed with the other dogs, and at bedtime, Todd was let out, and Jack was crated overnight.

~The Very Handsome Jack~

It was working. But I was feeling guilty about it because I was really feeling like this wasn't fair to either of them.

It became even more complicated when Ree entered the picture. At 4 years old, I thought she was way too energetic and playful for Todd and Jack too. So, we kept Ree away from both of them. Now we were "managing" three dogs that we thought couldn't be together. 


When Carl went out of town, I was left to care for all the dogs. I decided I'd had enough of all that "managing." So, I decided I was going to try putting the three dogs together outside and see what would happen.  

And you know what happened? I'll tell you what happened, nothing happened. There was no growling. There was no snapping.. There was no fight. The three all went about their own business, and were and are all fine together. Okay, Ree didn't and doesn't exactly mind her own business, she loves the two boys, but the bottom line is, the three all get along. 


Finally, I love that all the dogs can be together! I'm not having to "manage" where at any given moment they might be. I don't have to worry about where Ree is (probably on the bed), where Jack is, (usually in the office on his bed,) and where Todd is, (almost always in his now-open door-crate snoozing, or outside watching the world go by). I know the three of them are much happier. Actually, we are all happier and relaxed. And I'll add that none of the dogs are crated at night. 

~Jack and Gerry~

But I am however wondering, just what the heck was I worried about?

Friday, October 22, 2021

Drumroll please…..We're back!!!!

Well, hello blogging friends! It has been nearly a month. I have missed you. Thank-you to those of you who messaged asking if we were okay. It was so thoughtful of you to think of us. To answer that question about how we are, I can tell you that we all are just fine. 

Yes, we are just fine, with the exception of a bit of writers block, and that ole familiar feeling of guilt because behind the scenes for a while, I was having problems keeping up and catching up. 

We all know that the reality is that catching up never ends. There will always something that needs tending to. And I'm always going to feel guilty about something. It's just who I am.

But it was all getting harder and harder and I was losing my focus. I knew I had to stop that kind of madness. I found I needed to call a truce. 

I am a real news and political-junkie so I took a break from the news and politics. I turned off the TV and I even went outside, and sat on my front porch. 

I also took a break of sorts from social media. I love and want so much to keep up with family and friends on social media. I know that I don't have to read everything that is posted. And I know very well that I need to get over my F.O.M.O. -- That's my fear of missing out. But for whatever reason, I was feeling like I needed to watch every video, read every email, tweet, and Facebook update. Even though the chances were pretty good that if I did miss something, it was going to be repeated. I had to end that endless game. It honestly was making me irritable and cranky and hard to live with and be around. I needed to make a change and reconnect in a more meaningful way, and make that phone call to my oldest brother and others who aren't on social media, that I've been missing, but felt I just didn't have time for. 

With all that, things in my daily life have started to come back into balance for me. I know I need to stop dwelling and being irritated by the news, by what's happening at work, and what didn't get done yesterday or what needs to get done tomorrow, and focus on what’s going on right now. 

So, with the month long break, I'm back with the goal of starting fresh and being more mindful of the need to have and keep that balance, and not let the news and other things consume me like they had been. It's not easy to end what has become a habit. It's also not easy to stop being so critical of yourself when you feel you've fallen short in so many way. But I know it's worth it to try. 

It really does feel good to get this post written and to be back. 

Thank-you for stopping by. 

I hope you'll come back, I have so much I want to tell you.❤

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Our Week

 Here's our week in picture review ....

Sunday - Todd couldn't and wouldn't stop scratching his ear. 

We cleaned it and put in medication. I think that made it worse.

Monday - Off to work. Traffic is getting back to having pre-pandemic delays as people return to their offices and kids are back at school.

Tuesday - hornets, or yellow jackets, I don't know which, have eaten the few pears we have on our tree. We knocked the pears off the tree to try and get rid of them. It's a total loss of the fruit.

Wednesday evening - How I feel when my work week is over. 😊 

Thursday - Deer watching and just being outside. It was a gorgeous day.

Friday - A really busy day. I left the house at 8:30 to get to the groomers by 9:45 with Todd and Jake. Max was on the list to be groomed too, but we decided that his hurt knee still needs a few more weeks. 

Jake has been totally transformed. Irina (our groomer) took more off of his coat than I wanted. But we talked about it, and she thought it was best. I totally trust her judgement. Jake's coat was so thick and so heavy and I know he will feel better, and not be so hot, even though the weather has suddenly turned cooler. 46° this morning.

~All the hair that was removed from Jake~
A very tired Todd afterwards.

Saturday - Our day is just beginning. Whatever it brings, I hope yours is an enjoyable one.