Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Highlights

Things have been moving at about Mach 5.0 around here as we round out our summer and embark on the fall train.  A few highlights of the past several weeks can be summed up in a picture.  Well, a picture and some bullet points.  Perhaps I'll number them.  Here's the picture:



Here are the bullet points.  I went with the numbers...
  1. Had nails done for Anniversary (15 years, baby!)
  2. Ken took me to Disney World for said Anniversary
  3. We came home and painted the house.  It's sort of Taupe.
  4. I am now so tan/pink/borderline OompaLoompa that my "dark" summer makeup actually looks just right!
Now, from what can't be summed up in the picture...
   
     5.  My daughter started High School classes at our homeschool co-op today.  Parents, as co-educators, are required to attend the first class.  This is all well and good, except I was in a great hurry this morning and accidentally swiped my eyebrow brush in my espresso eyeliner powder rather than in my light blonde eyebrow powder.  I looked like Charlie Chaplin.  A very tan Charlie Chaplin.   Well, sans mustache.  {thanks to the nail salon appointment where I also had my lip waxed, I was mustache-free}  Thankfully, there is no picture of this.

     6.  Oh, you thought this was a blog about dogs?  Yes, it is.  But since they are transcriptionally challenged, I help write the column, therefore reserve the right to wax on about why the blog has been so dead lately.  {Jack and Indy's paws are just not dexterous enough to hit one key at a time, and Lucy's only 1 and can't spell very well yet...}

     7.  The dogs had a lovely time while we were in Florida, Jack and Indy with our dear friend and Lucy at the Grandparent B&B.  It's been a week we're home, and Lucy still looks insulted when we eat chicken in front of her.
    
     8.  Jack has been in a perpetual state of Happy since we've been painting the house.  We're all outdoors, all day long. 

     9.  Indy does not like the side yard rocky ground cover, but will put up with it to be close to whoever's painting.  He just lets out a sad "hyrumph" and flops down.  Yesterday he adjusted himself three or four times, each with a successively louder "hyrumph".  At that point, I called the kids to come play ball with him.  Sweet.  Loyal.  Not the brightest bulb in the box.

    10.  Curious dog that she is, Lucy's nose is now a sort of Taupe.


That's about it from our hypersonic lives, how about yours?



Hope your Back-to-School is a safe, fun one;
remember to watch out for kids & buses!
~Heather




Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Breakfast of Champions

Wheaties has nothing on this:
watermelon
waffles
turkey sausage
s'mores
(minus the chocolate)



When it's travel day fridge clean-out, everybody wins.

 

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Hills Were Alive


I'm still going through memories {and digital pics} of our recent trip to the mountains of Washington State.  It was a glorious weekend, surrounded by the most incredible views.  Ever.


Funny thing about hills... they echo. Funny thing about Labs... they have yet to figure this out.


Indy would bark, then hear the echo, then bark more ferociously, only to be met in kind by the echoing dog. {It was like in Disney's Brother Bear, where the moose are yelling, "You shut up." "No, you shut up" to their own echos.} This went on a good... well, the whole weekend. He might not be the brightest bean in the bunch, but he sure is stoic in protecting his territory, no matter how temporary.

Friday, August 12, 2011

I Just Called to Say...


I can't get Stevie Wonder's iconic song out of my head.  You see, my dad called yesterday.  If you'll recall, he was not the biggest fan of us bringing home a new dog in the beginning.  {You're not keeping it, right?}  But over the past year, Lucy and Dad have both worked very hard on coming to terms with each other.  Dad has really worked on letting his grown kids make their own decisions, and not being a harping parent (thanks, Dad).  Lucy's approach is rooted in that innate sense many animals possess to seek out the person(s) in the room who do not like them.  The mission is simple: Seek and Subjugate.  You will {love} me!

Have you seen this before?  Maybe you're not a dog person, but every time you visit friends who have dogs, the canines find you irresistible?  They park themselves in front of you until you acknowledge their existence, then follow you around until you leave or concede that you may, indeed, like love them too.  Or perhaps you are the pet owner, and you have found yourself staring in helpless horror as your furry friend ardently pines for your least pet-simpatico acquaintance?

Both my parents exemplify kindness towards all creatures.  My mom is always an instant hit with just about any animal she meets.  She just has that gift.  Though my dad's approach may be different, he is just as compassionate.  He is, however, a big dog kinda guy.  He and Jack and Indy are good buds.  He and Lucy, however, needed a little cajoling.  That's where Lucy's instincts kicked in.

In the beginning, every time we'd see my folks, Lucy would run right over to Dad, then tail him for the rest of the day.  He would do his best to admonish selective attention upon the big dogs.  When it would be time for my parents to go home, Lucy literally would cry until he came back and petted her in acknowledgement.  Satisfied with her plan to conquer the world(or run for Congress), she'd peaceably return to the yard.  She was relentless.

Over the past several months I have noticed a softer side to my dad, a former BIG dog person - not unlike myself.  Lucy is now acknowledged affectionately, if not somewhat sparingly.  Dad may not have crossed over completely to the world of little dog appreciation, but he's skirting the perimeter.  That brings us to the call.

Yesterday, my Dad called.  I love it when he does.  He often has good tips to share or things that he read and wanted to pass along, which always lets me know he was thinking of me, or the kids, or Ken, or the big dogs.  It's a great feeling.  Yesterday's call was actually about Lucy.  He had watched a show the previous night where a little dog went a little nuts after having eaten chicken.  He wanted to see if I had ever heard of that happening, and if maybe a call to the Vet would be a good idea.  Just to make sureWe wouldn't want any harm to befall Lucy, of course. 

I just smiled.  Well, I also Googled "chicken" and "little/small dogs" and was satisfied the writers of that particular show had taken creative liberties for their story line seeing as how many brands of dog food specifically for little dogs are, in fact, chicken.  {the bones are a no-no for any dog... too brittle and splintery}  I think we're good. 

Dad, I love you.  Lucy loves ya, too.  Thanks for calling.
From the bottom of my heart...

~Heather


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

{love}

{is this a puppy look, or what?}

{more love}

{so.good.}



{what?}



{it's delicious}

Friday, August 5, 2011

Before & After

Everyone loves a good Before & After, right?  I never was an Oprah fan, but her Before & After shows always hooked me in.  Each show has the requisite token guy with a beard and a flannel shirt to whom they give a shave, hair cut (& ceremonial pony tail cut, if applicable), and dress in snappy clothes that require dry cleaning.  Of course, the guy is a hottie underneath all of that... which the "experts" already knew, or else it would be like, "Huh.  He grew that beard and ponytail for a reason, then dressed in flannel to blend the look."

We already knew Lucy was rather cute {for a little dog} under all her wiry fur & hamburger grease stains.  The stylist (ah-hah!), Debbie, thought she noticed barbeque sauce on one ear.  Lovely.  At least Debbie was laughing.  {incidentally, Stephanie was not there...}

before

Lucy did great.  She shook quite a bit as we entered the Spa, but was reasonably relaxed within the first five minutes.  When it was time for Debbie to take Lucy, Lucy thought that was pretty okay.  I couldn't prove it, but it did occur to me maybe they pipe calming scents into the air in the waiting room{hey, can we get some of that to go?}.  Or maybe, out of her element, Lucy is much more aware of her lack of size and power.  'Tis better to go with the flow sometimes.

before

She even got a written progress report.  Apparently, she did fine with the clippers, the shampoo, conditioning treatment, teeth brushing, and the noisy blow dryer.  The nails, though... let me read the notes..."She did fantastic for everything except her feet."  Under 'Nails', it said, "Clipped two right feet, dog did not tolerate left feet."  Still, we made progress.  Perhaps next time they can start with the left.  {maybe she's left-pawed?}


As we left, we bought her a new chew toy - rings!  {her favorite}  Are you ready?  Are you even reading this?  Have you just scrolled down to the "after" pics?  {That's what I would have done!}  Well, drumroll please, here she is:

after
The bows (shaking my head and sighing), the bows were all the stylists' doing. 



She sure loved her toy.
She knew it was hers, too. 
She took it to each of the big dogs, shoved it in their face and then walked away. 
"See this, boys?  This is mine.  I earned it."

Yes, you did, Lucy.  Yes, you did.
{{Good Girl}}


Folks, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.
Thanks for stopping by.

With love,
Heather
&
Two and a Half Dogs
{now with bows!}




Thursday, August 4, 2011

This Could Get Ugly


Tonight we attempt to conquer what has never been successfully completed with Lucy: a full groom.  Lucy is one smart cookie, and quite the Alpha Dog.  That means, she wants to be in charge.  Run the show.  Be the boss.  And bosses don't have people holding their paws and trimming their nails.  That would mean someone else is in charge.


The state of her nails, however, is going on Guinness Record length.  We've futilely tried to clip them with everything from bribery  {You're still the Boss; here, have a treat}  to tough love  {Darn it, Lu, we're the people, you need to sit still when we tell you!}.  Neither approach has worked.  I've lost two shirts in the process.  Ken has permanent scratch marks on his arms.  This is clearly worth the $12 for the technicians(?) at the pet store to attempt.  {do they prefer to be called technicians?}


It's more than just nails, as Lucy has grown, her wiry hair has gotten... well, wiry!  Something needs to be done for it.  To it?  It's so different from the big dogs.  Labs are the epitome of ease.  Maybe hose 'em off on a warm day, let air dry.  Ta-da!  Done.  Their nails wear down pretty well on walks, and Jack is really good about sitting down for his nail trims(on the back porch, not in a spa)  Okay, Indy's afraid of getting his nails done, but I have kids who are too.  Eventually, with a large enough pile of treats, they'll sit for it. 


I asked around the neighborhood and got a recommendation for a good local groomer.  I called two days ago and spoke with two very intelligent sounding ladies.  {Pet Professionals?  Canine Commandos?  Spaz Specialists?}  The last one I talked to {let's just say, Stephanie} would actually be there for the groom.  Stephanie reassured me that if the dogs start to freak out - she put it more professionally, like "if they're showing signs of increased adrenaline" - they will end the groom and recommend a vet, who has access to an array of sedation methods. 


It's funny, on the phone I found myself defensively stammering, "Even though we have a little dog, this is not the sort of thing we do.  We don't care how she looks, we just thought she'd be more comfortable.  {Read: no need to trod out the latest bows, hair dye, or raincoats.}  We are just regular dog people.  Big dog people, really... we have Labs.  We've never taken our Labs to the groomers before.  Labs are the epitome of ease!


Even though I suppose we are more favorable to little dogs now, I still don't identify with the stereotypes.  Odd that I still can't let go of the stereotype: images of Chihuahuas in purses; Miniature Poodles with their perfectly coiffed heads stiffly sticking out the windows of perfectly polished Mercedes;  people with little dogs, prancing to the groomers... Well, I can promise there will be no prancing today.  Or any other day.  Sheesh.


Wish us luck; this could get ugly.  I'll keep you posted.  Unless something goes terribly wrong at the Dog Spa.  Like, they really didn't know what they were in for: Lucy breaks loose, violently mauls the ... Stephanie, and we are subsequently sued.  Then I suppose for legal reasons I couldn't post anything.  Apart from that, I'll keep you posted.



Happy Thursday, everyone! 
As always, I'm delighted you stopped by to join us for a while. 
Do come again soon.

~Heather



Did that last part sound too British?  I've been engulfed in the Flavia de Luce mystery novels as of late. 
They are addicting.  Love 'em. 
But watch out; you will start having inner monologues with a decidedly British flavour to them. 

{Alan Bradley, the author, has no idea who I am.  This is just a personal tangent on a new series I happen to love. 
And possibly an explanation as to why I wrote, "Do come again soon"}

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Jurrasic Bark

{Returning back to stories from our beautiful, mountainous road trip a few weeks ago...}

Norman Rockwell

Road trips are fun.  Road trips are exciting.  The open road carries with it an exhilaration that man has been chasing before there were even roads! 


Norman Rockwell

Road trips are exhausting.  Road trips are l-o-n-g.  I bet in the old days, they would have done shot the dog that whined incessantly, like an incurable tinnitus, the whole entire trip long.  Thankfully for Indy, we are not in the old days. 

Because of the long drive and the rental house we were heading for, we brought the big dog's kennel with us.  It is large enough for both Labs to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably.  What we didn't anticipate was Indy's reaction to having to ride in the kennel for the duration of the drive. 

Indy doesn't travel well.  He never has.  When we first brought him home from the breeders, he cried foul all the way home.  We nearly turned around and took him back.  {Umm, this one's defective?}  Indy has always been vocal.  The puppy ad that described his parents mentioned his father, Buster, as "sounding his way into your heart".   We should have picked  up on the subtlety.  That's like Real-estate-ease : "cozy" means "tiny", "rustic" is really "old and run down". We missed the warning entirely.

Even at home, if left on the other side of the sliding glass door (and each side is the other side, depending on whichever side he isn't on) Indy whines and breath-ily cries.  It's across between the slow braking of a semi-truck with unoiled brakes and an on-going car alarm in the background.  He's even gotten so good, you can't tell by looking at him that he's doing it.  The kids have dubbed him The Ventriloquist.  We aren't even sure he's aware that his inner monologue is being broadcast to all around him.  But it is. 

Moving vehicles just exaggerate the pandemonium.  While Jack is gleefully excited whenever we call him into the back of the truck(even in the big kennel), Indy couldn't be more acrimonious.    This trip was possibly the worst yet.  Even when we reached the rental house, and both dogs got to run and play fetch, he continued his broken-alarm cry.  He escalated to barking.  We checked, and he didn't seem to be in pain, he was just letting us know he really didn't like that trip.  It didn't exactly make us yearn for the next 8 hour leg of the trip.

Happy Jack.

Indy.
{not so happy}

What, this is fun!


{be grateful there isn't a sound clip to go with this}

Jack: Seriously, Indy? Is it really all that bad?
Indy: Uh-huh.


Sheesh.
{he ain't noisy, he's my brother}

After a few hours, Indy finally unwound.  We even got a few games of fetch in before the sun went down.


Then, two days later we packed up for the long haul back.  The dogs were mostly exhausted from all the running, hiking & swimming they had done, so it was a little quieter for the first part of the return trip.  But after a few hours' hard napping & a stop for a cheeseburger{traveling dogs get perks, too!} the ventriloquist returned.   Luckily, we humans were also exhausted from all the running, hiking & swimming, and were too tired to care.  Much. 


Monday, August 1, 2011

Happy One Year, Lucy!

It is surreal to think that Lucy came into our family one year ago.  One one hand, it's only been a year(seven to her).  On the other, it's like she has always been here.  Sort of like having more than one kid; you know there was a time you had just the one, or two, but you can't remember what life was like before your family was complete in its current state.  Unless, of course you had twins.  Or triplets.  Or more... in that case, email me!  I'd love to hear how you manage!  Anyway, life without Lucy is hard to remember.  And we're okay with that.  I think she is, too.


August 1st, 2010

This was Lucy's first night in what we promised ourselves
would only be her temporary foster home.

She needed her space.  Everything was new and overwhelming. 
It was hard for her to even go to sleep
{I'm sure she didn't sleep very soundly all alone out in the hills where we found her}

Finally, she took her chances and caught a few winks.

Jack, getting used to new smells - and apparently, tastes?

Lucy was getting familiar with new smells as well.

Indy had his turn, too.

So little!

She wasn't sure what to make of the cuddling...

Umm, okay.  I like it here. 
You do not have a little dog. You should.
Little dogs are not as bad as you think they are.
I can help with that arrangement.
I think I'll stay.


If you're new here, welcome!  I'm so glad you have taken the time to read this far.  If you haven't heard how all of this got started - how Lucy came into our lives and changed us from a BIG dog family to a Two and a Half Dog family - join us where it all began, at "Not a Little Dog Person".

Thursday, July 28, 2011

If You Give a Boy a Camera

I recently celebrated my birthday.  It was the perfect kind of day, surrounded with loved ones and great food.  {Is it wrong that I just put "great food" up there with "loved ones"?}  We had a pizza bar where you could load up an individual sized crust with everything you love, and not have anything to pick off.  This was part of my master plan for a complaint free day.  Then, in lieu of cake, we switched it up a bit and had caramel apples.  We tried all sorts - ones covered with Reese's Pieces candy, ones with Butterfinger, plain ones, and ones with nuts.  In the end, we all decided we liked the classic ones the best. 

The dogs celebrated, too.  We got an assorted pack of raw-hide for them to gum up and gnaw to their hearts delight.  At least until the treats got too soggy and we had to toss the dogs a Milkbone treat to "trade" and stash the oozing wad of reconstituted hide in the garbage can.  The dogs continued to look for their missing treats all night {where did I put that?  I was chewing on it... then mom gave me a cookie... then it was gone.  where could it be?  it was so good.  I'm sure I wasn't done with it yet...}

I could have stopped the day right there, as everything had made for a sublimely happy one.  But my husband and kids presented me with a new camera.  A grown-up camera.  A KIDS! do-not-touch-for-any-reason camera.  No sooner had I opened the flap of the box that held this intimidating, 7,200 page-manual wielding piece of equipment, did my youngest breeze by with my old camera saying, "So, can this be the family camera now?"  He barely left time for a befuddled reply of, "Yeah, sure, we'll see..."  and he was gone.  This was the best birthday ever!  He just got a camera!

And what a fine picture-taker he turned out to be.  For nearly a week, it was, "Hey Mom, wanna see this shot?"  "Dad, check it out!"  {I think it was, in part, payback for all the times I've called to the kids, "Hey, look at this one"}  Remember Dustin Hoffman in Rainman?  How he took all those photos everywhere he went, then in the credits they showed the developed pictures? (back when we still called it "developing" pictures.  Do people still call it developing?  It's more like "click here to order prints now", right?  Huh.  I digress...)  Well, here are Zack's shots.  It's pretty neat to see the world through a ten year old's eyes.


the new monolith

Sad Jack. 
He just can't find that Rawhide he was working on.



I love this one.







The town that Zack built.






I'm always ready for my closeup.