Thursday, December 12, 2013

Date Saturday at Basye and Bryce Resort

This semester Florian is teaching 18 classes a week, I'm working two jobs and grooming dogs right and left, and we both have been spending lots of time with my dad. Of course Florian still has his alternate weekends with his son, during which they do fun things like play with remote control cars, shoot bows and arrows, and blow things up.

So finally I said, where's my special fun time with my old man? Thus began our new tradition of Date Night. 

Date Night's good for me because it means I get to spend quality time with Swiss dude, and it's good for Florian because it means I end up taking him out for all kinds of cool stuff. Take our most recent date, which was really an all-day affair, during which we went to Basye, Virginia for a walk around Bryce Resort. 

This is one of those places that brings up warm feelings for us both, as Florian has gone skiing there and we've spent several nice days walking around. 

The day was gorgeous and sunny, but there were few people around so pretty quickly we felt comfortable letting the dogs off leash. 

Even nutty Fozzie, who makes the most of off-leash time by bounding around like a madman 

and, of course, swimming. 

Somewhat surprisingly, he does come when called the vast majority of the time when we are on trail hikes and is generally a pretty good trail companion, at least as long as we don't encounter too many fellow trail dogs. 

On this day, the worst thing he did was to vomit, copiously, seemingly his entire, undigested and barely chewed breakfast, at precisely the only moment on the trail when we did pass other hikers. 

Way to endear yourself, Fozzie!

The best place for a long walk is around Lake Laura, which is great for the dogs and great for its scenic views. 

The lake has a trail running all the way around it, which affords a view of the lake and some of the stunning vacation rentals and year-round homes we fantasized about living in. 

We walked all the way around the lake, encountering no one else after that one group of unfortunate witnesses to Fozzie's vomit-tastic display, then headed back to the car with a couple of tired pups.

And then began Florian's favorite part of Date Saturday, when we went to our favorite hippie store and I bought Florian a nifty Himalayan salt lamp, which are known for their positive ions and healing properties. 
And then we went into the town of New Market and I got Florian some world-famous peanut stew at the Southern Kitchen, the only diner I know that makes this tasty veggie favorite. 

A perfect day for me and the dogs, and the Swiss dude couldn't complain too much either.

Ladies (and Sam's Dad), how do YOU keep that spark alive when all your sheets are covered with paw prints and there is a snoring, hairy beast coming between you and your significant other at night?

Do you too have to bribe him--or her--with peanut stew and New Age trinkets?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Happy Birthday Mom

Today would have been my mom's 80th birthday, had she lived to see it. 

My sister, my dad and I are going to visit her grave tonight and talk to her, make sure she knows we're thinking of her. 

I still think about her just about every day. I'm not sure if this is normal, but I still have this feeling in the back of my mind that she's present, that her humor and warmth and vitality are right there somewhere. 

Almost that I could access her if I really wanted to. That connection with her was so woven into the fabric of my being, so foundational to my existence, so essential to the cohesiveness of my identity and my family and the universe, that her disappearance is impossible. 

Maybe this is what they call denial. Or maybe she really didn't disappear, maybe, as in my dreams, she is still present, though in a different form. 

I know this is not standard fare for a dog blog that generally deals in paw behaviors, ear infections, and hiking adventures, but I somehow want to put all this out there. This intimate experience of death, of losing someone who felt like a part of my very being, is uncharted territory for me. Maybe someone else will read something that resonates, and find comfort in knowing that others have undergone the same experiences. 

I've been decorating my house for Christmas, and enjoying the process of taking out all the incredible crafty Christmas creations my mom made over the years. The angels, the ornaments, the wreaths, the mosaics. 

I don't have my Mom's artistic eye, but I love having all her beautiful things around. 

I'm having a gathering on Saturday to celebrate my mom, and guests can take home one of my mom's creations in exchange for a donation to the Washington Humane Society and AWARE, a no-kill sanctuary in Guatemala. 

It will not be a somber affair, as my mom was far from a somber person!

We'll play a little music, drink a little spiced rum, and give Fozzie some practice in not being a complete raving lunatic when guests come over. 

Whaddya think, Mom? Do you approve? Or do you think we're all a bunch of complete nitwits?

I hope you approve. I think you would. 

And I hope you feel the love that still surrounds thoughts of you each time they arise. 

And I hope you're flying free, as joyful as you were in life, surrounded by green growing things and birds that sing and twitter and cheep and infused with the vibrant life force you nourished while you were here. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

A series of Star updates

I just love it when adopters keep me posted about my former foster babies.

Though I've gotten pretty used to letting go, they are always all my babies and I wonder about them all the time, and it brings my heart so much joy to hear about them thriving in their new homes. 

Star was a really special foster dog, who distinguished herself from the moment she, as a stray, jumped in the open window of a police car and proceeded to wash the officer's face, to her 5 months with me during which she was a loving, licking, snorting, difficult-to-manage little troublemaker. So its been especially wonderful to get updates and hear how well she's doing from her people. 

The first update:
We got back from our fabulous vacation in Maine and our baby enjoyed herself a lot. She even got to swim in a lake - not intentionally but she got so excited when she saw a dog on the island that we think she didn't realize it was water and went right under.

For split minute Toby thought she is drowning but she surfaced and swam back to boat and jumped back in! 
crazy pooch!
She is definitely getting attached to us which is so wonderful and we love her so much!
After we came back from the trip, all she was doing for 2 days was sleeping!

Star always enjoyed traveling, hiking, being around water, so I was so happy to hear the adventures she's having with her people. I got the next update for her birthday, which was coincidentally noted on her papers as the day before mine.

Your favorite girl turned 2! 
now she is terrible two!  
The day probably wasn't her favorite because birthday started with bath at Petco and she would rather roll in mud than getting glamorous! 
Then we decided to treat her with a little bone which she wasn't really thrilled with! She is a real princess and little picky! :-)
We thought that maybe beef stew will go with her a little better and it did! She loved it and ate it very gently and gracefully! 
And soon after, I got this update:
We want the shelter to know that she went to a loving house and we gave her a chance she deserves! Even with all the issues, she is a sweet and loving creature!

Her Dad says:
Star is getting better every day. She has her moments of lunacy but they are fewer and further between than when she first arrived. She is calmer now during her daily activities like walking, riding in the car or hanging around the house. The only thing that still sets her off, every time, anywhere are squirrels. My theory is that she is reincarnated from being a squirrel in her past life and that she misses zipping around trees with them, Joanna's theory is that they are Star's favorite meal.
Finally, I got this update:
We hope you have a wonderful holiday! We sure have one thing to be grateful for this Thanksgiving......
Yay Star! You so deserve it. I hope you're being as good as your people say, because they are really incredible and deserve the best dog ever.