Selasa, 31 Maret 2009

Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head

We have early showers - only a few hours before April officially starts. But the blog photo of a raindrop at the top of Boyd's head seemed appropriate as a header photo for the month. Laugh Out Loud!

Dog Dynamics

The posturing and gesturing and signaling in the dog world, when a new buddy comes to the house, reveals a wealth of information regarding social structure and each resident's peace of mind.

Enter: Boyd, the plain brown puppy. Yes, he has the little bulldog bow legs. Very appealing. Even with sharp teeth and a desire to test everything for taste and texture - tails included, he offers no threat to our crew. The impetuousness of youth and the wily charm must filter out the agonizing nip-and-jump routine which sometimes puts a questioning look on our adult pooches. We trust they find him entertaining and perhaps they reflect back on their own puppyhood.
The more we learn about dogs the more we know we still don't know. They are wise and intelligent. They have a firm grasp of what is important, what matters and what to let go of because it's insignificant.
And, they are in charge.

Senin, 30 Maret 2009

Who was it that voted for more than 8 puppies?

Your reward is that you get to come watch them for a day!

Poll Results
How many puppies are in Abba's belly?
Four.......2 (7%)
Five.......7 (26%)
Six.......15 (57%)
Seven... 1 (3%)
Eight.....0 (0%)
More.....1 (3%) WINNER

The Puppies are Here! UPDATE

Abba was an overachiever today, she had NINE puppies. Starting around 1:30am or maybe earlier and finishing around 11:15am.
1 red boy-9oz
1 red girl-8.75oz
4 tri boys-all 8.75oz
1 tri girl-6.5oz
2 tri boys-all 8.75oz
All the family is doing well.

Here is
the whole family. Yep, I count nine! The reds are like bookends.

Minggu, 29 Maret 2009

Maybe Puppies Tonight!

Lesley emailed me that Abba seems to be nesting and refused her meal tonight. Of all our beagles, Abba is the biggest chow-hound. So for her to refuse food means something is up. Stay tuned.

Abba's still Growing 03.28.09

Here's Abba yesterday (03.28.09). Lesley says she now measures 31 inches. May need to change my guess on how many puppies.

Below is a pix from Mar 24 when she was 29 inches.

How Was YOUR Summer?

Who would have thought that we'd actually get what was predicted for yesterday - 3-4 inches of pristine snow! It was stunning and magical early in the morning. Who says we can't have Christmas all year long. Maybe a little snowy reminder is what we need to keep us focused on the truth of the matter. The shot here is of the dry creek bed, around 7 a.m. Clearly it was not at all dry!

Below, within thirty minutes, the birds were filling up the yard and chirping enough to make us feel guilty that all we had out for them was suet. No breakfast/brunch for these visitors on this particular snowy day. We were so ill-prepared. Thankfully all is forgiven as today there are seeds galore and for those carnivore birds - worms.

And, indeed, what a difference a day does make. Not only did we go from snow and winter coats to sunshine and light jackets in central Illinois, we personally went from 4 owned dogs and a 1 foster dog to 4 + 1 + 1 foster puppy. Tis the season to be jolly, and to brush, and to train, and to romp.
His name is Boyd. When he holds still I'll take a photo and post it. Till then, wave as you "go by"...we're outside every hour or two.
If you wonder where the magic in the world has gone think only briefly about what I've mentioned today. Amazing weather and the changes it brings, the beauty and communication of living things such as birds and puppies. We have only to look around us and behold. The magic isn't gone. It never leaves. Sometimes we just see beyond it and that is a shame.

Rabu, 25 Maret 2009

March Madness

Aren't these creatures stunning?

Yesterday was a whirl of activity in our kitchen and there were tails and tongues in full gear. We were launching the Paws to Love Barkery. OK, it's a bakery. OK, it's temporary. But the Animal Protective League Upscale Sale approaches (see for details)and we promised to bake. Locally we found a great new dog treat book and initiated by choosing 5 recipes to test. We got through 4 of the 5 before the power went out. There was a major wind storm most of the day. What fun it was till then though! Our dogs have to be among the luckiest in a test kitchen! They sampled everything. Before they took over we rushed the packaged goods to the freezer and there they will stay until the event.
It's all in the name of being able to do something for others. Our shelter, like every other NFP organization, feels the economic pinch. Everyone has to cut back somewhere. Luckily I am easily entertained by baking and I do not need to have what I bake staying here to be consumed - oh, no! So this is a win-win opportunity.
If you show up and buy some you'll win too!

Senin, 23 Maret 2009

Abba's belly continues to Grow (one week to go)

These pixs are from Friday, Mar 20. This last week, Abba grew 2 in (total of 28 in) around her belly. Abba is with Lesley now who will whelp the puppies. When the puppies are about a week or so old, they will come live with us.
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Kamis, 19 Maret 2009

Coffee With My Cousin

Practically every morning my TX cousin and I sit at our respective PCs and exchange emails. Sometimes we are on-line at the same time which is fun. We wouldn't use Facebook for this - it lacks the intimacy factor, even with sending messages just to the person. I predict that Facebook is a flash in the pan and at some point will be faceless and pointless. However, enough of this digression. He does read the blog and would quickly put me back on the topic.

Swifty (his saga-writing name) and I reveal family secrets, of sorts. These are innocent comments which come out often in frivolous exchanges but tend to identify how much alike we are.Just as frequently we see how unalike we are!It is great fun and very good for me, an only child who could explain at length what is missed when a person grows up without siblings...and the impact it has on dealing with people! Whoops, another digression.

Why post this? Well, it is a good day to write. We're into a new season of "Dancing With the Stars", which we both watch and then hash out. It's almost gardening/landscaping season and there's plenty to discuss. Our political views are not always close.

More than those and other topics though, it's just important to have the confirmation and reinforcement that comes from sitting and shooting the breeze with someone. We both admit how much this has come to mean to each of us.

In today's world the local coffee shop has gone global. That's not so bad.

Selasa, 17 Maret 2009

The Well-Trained Ear Does Not Go Unfed

Yes, you read it correctly.

At our house the dogs have learned sounds. It's probably true elsewhere but I know only about here. When the fridge opens, they are there. However, other triggers bring them to the center of the space in which I am working. They know when I program the oven something is going to happen. They recognize certain lids being removed. They hear me stirring things up, as I'm known to do.

Today began with making Irish Soda Bread. Ever hopeful, there they were, looking up longingly, "Is this for us?" Afraid not. But what is for them is the batch of Almond Biscotti cookies for dogs that are now in the oven. The recipe sounded good and now they are hardening to make them more appropriate for dogs. Before that though I did taste one - hey! The ingredients were all human appropriate! It was tasty. No sugar, just some honey. No white flour, wheat. Darned near what we should be eating.

It could be they are spoiled.

Cardinals are vying for nesting places. There's a troop of males bickering in the trees just outside of my writing post. Noisy birds flitting about gets a reaction from the dogs. Not that the dogs aren't noisy themselves at times.

This is the time of the year when my mind drifts to the childhood memories. There was always that first warm day when I could run outside without a sweater or jacket and the screen door would slam just as Mom or Grandma was saying "Put on a jacket." or "Don't let the door slam.". I was across the yard by then. It was too late to go back. Then there was heading over to Gary Petersen's house to play a variety of games. That family had a great house for "Ollie Ollie Oxenfree" or whatever the name of the game was. Do you remember it? Tossing a big kickball over the roof of the house. I don't know what the idea of the game was other than the receiving team was to try to catch it. But how would the other side know if you didn't?

Oh, back then we played fair. I hope that is something which returns to our whole society.

Here at Camp Hein we have discovered a new resident. When we had our fireplace re-done there were leftover rocks (fake) which I kept and which are in two stacked boxes at the side of the driveway. The other day as we pulled in we saw a chipmunk dash through the right-sized hole. Apparently it is home to him/her. The entryway is perfect. Other holes allow ventilation. The top floor may be play space. The boxes are waterproof and windproof and warm (I'm guessing on that). We fully expect there will be little chippies one of these days. Sure, they are "bad" near the house, digging and tunneling. But we can't get rid of the moles either and we try. So we'll let this optimistic and proud homeowner establish a presence and we'll all live peacefully and celebrate our discovery and our differences. We'll play fair.

Rabu, 11 Maret 2009

Features? - That's rich!

Yesterday I discovered unused features in my car. This is due to the time change, a task I have yet to master. Instead I have learned to drive to the dealership and have them check something else but add, "Oh, while you're there, will you go ahead and re-set the clock, please?" As if they don't know.But now I know how to glide from military hours to civilian clocking. I know how to reset the MPH and MPG and go from F to C in all degrees. Did I mention I've been driving this vehicle for 3 years?

Then, there's the unsurprising mention of the digital camera. Go figure. Go figure it out. Talk about features (I am)! If I kept the thing dangling around my neck 16 hours a day, 6 days a week and claimed it to be my signature jewelry piece, and used it to the point where no one saw my face, I'd still get up on day 7 and have to refresh my mind on the options, aka features.

Of course, the laptop has built in features in software programs, la -de -dah. But today I found myself in a slow panic waiting for the PC to come to life. More on that later. Deciding to let the flying Microsoft colors take a look at it I clicked on the button with the symbol and let the diagnostics do their things. It's then I notice that there is an fn button which I know intuitively, and because the blue lettering on it matches the blue lettering under the function keys labels, these are the features or options activated through using that key and an associated function key. Who knew? And, to that I add, what the heck are some of these things. I dare not use them for fear of launching the back half of the house into outer space. It means getting out another manual and looking something up which is so not happening. Those features haven't been used yet. Apparently they are unnecessary.

Speaking of unnecessary, I want (notice I did not say need although it may come to that)a curling iron with auto-shut off. Yes, I've walked away from my plain one too many times, returning to send a word of thanks to God that there is still a home here and then shut it off. So while in a major drug store I pass down the aisle displaying hair equipment. To my amazement I can now get a curling iron with 25 heat settings. Huh? Why? Does my hair know if I use setting 15 or 16? If it is too hot is the curl too tight or does my hair rebel and refuse to curl? Am I risking scorching my hair with only "low" and "high" as my choices?

My point, if there must be one, is that gadgets, thing-a-ma-gigs, all seem to be feature heavy. I remember times when it used to be said that something basic, like a printer was great and when printers became printer/fax/copy/scan they became mediocre. Do one thing and do it right and do it well.

Cars that don't require a flowchart to make simple changes yet are still comfy and safe - that's an idea!

Computers that reduce fear factors (really, what could go wrong?) by offering kinder functions - ha! Control - Alt - Delete!!! It's right to use but the first time - you remember your first time using it - FEAR. Right? You thought everything would leave.

And, well, let the curling iron issue go - that's just too bizarre to try to figure out. Turn on, heat up, curl, turn off.

Now I hear on the news that iPod is obsolete. Glad I'm waiting for all this to settle down. I like my CD's in the car and at home. I don't need to haul 14,000 songs around with me. But at least a music playing device heard the message:

Do one thing and do it right and do it well. Machines should. People should.

Oh, and why I was waiting for the PC to come to life was because my wireless mouse needed new batteries. In the imagination part of my brain I was already shopping for a new one and checking to see when I last backed up files so I could move them. The logical side knew to check some things first. Then the mouse quit so I knew. Let that be a tip you store for future use.

Senin, 09 Maret 2009

Hey, Hey, Hey It's FAT ABBA

We affectionately are now calling her FAT ABBA. She weighs 30lbs and is 24 1/4 inches around her belly. Wonder how many puppies are in there? And yes, it is March even though you'd think it was December with all that snow on the ground.

Sabtu, 07 Maret 2009

The first pitch

Will President Obama be in Chicago for the first pitch? That's not how I planned to start this post but it ties in all right. Spring is coming. He hasn't called to answer that question, yet.
I know Spring is coming because today I put on a baseball cap instead of a scarf, hat, gloves, and heavy coat. Rounding the bases to home plate were all the dogs, kicking up their collective heels as they howled their delight to the weather gods.
Plus there are peeps. Not the Internet kind, aka people, although they are present too. But rather peeps of irises, daffodils, hyacinth and tree buddings. Seeing those always is a hand-clapping moment, a signal of renewal, a voice from deep within the earth shouting "Here, take this!" And, on days such as this one, where the best clues about how to behave come from the innocent afoot and simple observations of appreciation, I want to say back, "Thank you, I will."

Rabu, 04 Maret 2009

Sometimes the heart breaks a little

There were some great adoptions from APL this past weekend which meant that dogs waiting to come in (aka being returned) could arrive.

"L" is one of those. Adopted as a puppy everyone thought her life was "golden". But no one worked with her and she didn't get attention. She developed fears and anxieties and aggressions. Of course, two years later she's not wanted. Someone will work with her and turn her around; I know. She was responding to me the first two days so she's wanting to be loved and loving.

Then there was "R". Instead of being parents and telling the teenager he is responsible for his dog this family just brought the dog back to us, again, after he'd been neglected and ignored for over two years. We couldn't keep him as he was too out-of-control. The owner came to get him. She said she'd take him to training. Let's hope.

It's rarely the dog's fault. We all know that. Don't let me write about you. Work with your pets. Get yourself trained!

Selasa, 03 Maret 2009

my husband has a facebook account

Chief Types-With-Two-Fingers (apologies to ALL tribes) has a facebook account, thanks to his daughter's request and some work on my part to get him started. How hep.

Now he expects things to happen.

He has 5 friends - all relatives or relatives or relatives. We'll see how far this goes. Far as I can tell not enough happens in our lives for this to last too long.

Soon he will be back in the recliner, book in one hand, glass of red wine on the stand next to him, and remote control in the other hand. Both eyes will, of course, be closed.

I do love him.