January 30, 2007

Poor Old Friends

Some old dogs have so much to put up with.
Like Basset Hounds.

...he just can't get a break.

Topper loved everybody in the whole world.
If you ever came by, you were the absolute best friend he had ever had in his life who he hadn't seen in years!!

Except of course for our puppy Opal Basset.
She was tiny, fit in our hand.
She was adoreable and funny.

We all were in love.
Except for Topper.

For a great big tall lab, he was usually patient and gentle but a climbing, chewing, nuisance puppy was only barely tolerated.

A soft growl rolled out when the limit of his tolerance was reached...such as anyone chewing on his tail or toes. Sometimes Topper slurped Opal's ears when he deigned to pay any attention at all.
That's when she was in heaven.
It was pretty disgusting slobbering on both their parts, yeeachh!

Opal adored Topper.
She missed him when he was gone.
If only she could have tortured him for many more years,
maybe together with a friend!
They all would have had so much fun!
(except, of course for Topper)

Go Here

Go here for the duck blog.
Come back for the basset blog.

You might find bassets, you might not.
You might find ducks, you might not.

It all depends on the blogger template...it's iffy.

Are the sentences all running together??...blame it on the blogger people!!

January 25, 2007

Days Keep Ticking By

Day by day.

We keep keeping on.

One day at a time.

Once I was down to one stop~sign at a time.

Depressed, stressed and about to explode, I thought, "If I can just make it to the next stop sign...THEN I can jump out of the car and run screaming down the street."

"Made it! Now, if I can make it to the NEXT stop~sign...THEN I'll jump out!"

I made it all the way home. But truly, I could only commit to the one block at a time. Now I'm more mature, I commit to making it to bedtime.

How is YOUR stress level?

For the kids we've made a helpful audio~visual aide:


Start the little car at LOW if you feel sluggish, tired or bleahh.

Move the car to JUST RIGHT if you feel ok, ready to work, calm.

If you're fired up, passionate, and furious, well...you know what to do!

I need some advice:

Where do I position the car after dinner?

I've eaten:

1. one whole bag of Pirate Booty.

But, look, it says it's good for me!

2. one little chunk of chocolate.

3. A cup of hot water...you can't fault me there!

Any suggestions?

Someone suggests,

"I'm thinking the car should head for HIGH!"

There were enough calories and fat today and all of tomorrow."

Maybe I can fast tomorrow...oh sure!

The other suggestion:

"The guilt and shame of such disgraceful pigging is the definition of STRESS. Yes, definately move the car to HIGH!"

Danger Ahead!


...maybe I'll move the car to LOW tomorrow after I fast all day. (oh, sure!!)

January 22, 2007

How Many Birds?

Three hummingbird feeders are not enough for our ravenous, bossy hummer. Only one to a feeder and that one is Himself!
Zipping here and there fending off interlopers, he only gets enough nectar to keep up the fueding.

Towhees, plain and dust brown are seen scurrying about.

Bluejays love the black oil sunflower seeds.
They swoop in side to side and land in the wagon.

With handsome, bright sky blue, well tended feathers and confident "caw, caw" they are the boss of the garden.

The quail vie for dominance over the mourning doves, scratching in the leaves around to see what's good.

Finches chitter nonstop and eat niger thistle nonstop. Fill the sack on Monday, it's gone by Tuesday.

We can't keep them supplied, the little piggies.
a flicker
turkey vultures
red shinned hawk
house finches
a wild turkey
a peahen
That's enough for now.
We have more patience for the serious birdwatchers, now.
Previously, we thought they were odd.
Now we understand...we love our front yard birds.

Do you want to see some native grasses?
I bet the birds do.


Artist's Trading Cards

What are those, you ask?

Art, the size of baseball cards.

But it's an amazing process.

As a decades-long blocked painter, (well, I graduated in '88) this ATC thing is getting me back to work.

My medium is collage...that's short for smooshing, painting, tearing, wrapping and gluing. (It's a mess, but fun, fun, fun!)

Hallelujah! I'm back in the game!

from left to right above:

1. San Francisco Beach Chalet
2. Music
3. Joy to the World
4. Earth, Colors
5. This Land / I have a Dream

Thank you dear friend B. for getting me into this!

Only a true friend kicks your butt outta the rut!

January 16, 2007

What are you reading?

As a child, history eluded my brain.
In the evenings, I retreat to my room.
Tiptoe during cocktail hour, my mom says.
Unpack the book bag, straighten my desk.
Get out the textbook.
Desperately try to read chapter II, page 11 - 29.
All I saw was 18 pages of agony.

I couldn't stay focused to save my life,
but I wished I could.
My parents and I feel embarrassed of my "underachiever" status.
They had struggled, too, I find out.
I studied dates and names fiercely.
At the exam, I draw a blank.
I wanted to be smart, get good grades, but how?
The whole fancy high school thing mystified me.
The graduates went to Vassar, Sarah Lawrence, U.C. Berkeley at least!
Why was I there?
Oh, I remember, my relatives attended before me.
The testing squeaked me through.
I was skinny and nervous, the secret society picked me, I guess I was funny.
I lied to get my P.E. points. Oh, yes, I ran 10 miles this week!
I'd read a chapter over and over to no avail.
Here comes the exam: nothing.

Ancient History, 9th grade.
The book had tiny foggy illustrations of statuettes and vase shapes.
Lectures washed over me, droning. The text swirled.
Was dusk descending?
Because narcoleptic sleep was overtaking me.

I craved the color;
the bejeweled golden masks. The wall paintings! The hieroglyphs!
I got the gist of it... Ancient Egypt impressed the world.

But come the exam: Nothing.

I longed for the important facts.
What kind of cloth wrapped the pharaoh?
What kind of wood was used for the sarcophagus, what tools were used?
What did the stone room smell like!
How did primitive man know how to draw and paint so well?
Who was that dog~looking person?
Why did the people all stand to one side?
How could it all last for thousands of years?

History class left me cold.
Until Art College...then I couldn't get enough.
Large colorful slides of master works shone on the walls of the hall.
The lectures were conversations, descriptive, interesting.
I got to know who was who and what they wore and looked like.

Now I'm reading a trashy historical novel, inspired by Jane Austen,
but certainly not literature.

Satisfying as is literature, sometimes the effort is exhausting.

I was a fanatic reader growing up,
bringing home piles of library books.
Some were treasures never forgotten, some were boring.
Some were illustrated by creative artists,
some were as corny as the funny papers.
Reading was an escape, entertainment,
relief from the arguments, the drinking.

Beautiful picture book.s
of Native American history,
of precious gems and rocks from Africa,
of bear and moose life cycles in Canadian forest ecosystems.
Fairy tales hinted at European culture.
How~to books taught art and clever crafts.

Books showed me foreign worlds.
Beyond my family's circle.Perhaps there were different ways I hadn't known. .
The stereotypical tale:
Proper Edwardian lady, now on the shelf (a spinster at 25), travels to the land of the pyramids, meets haughty, but wealthy, gentleman of high birth.
They are soul mates but don't know it...they bicker wittily.

Suddenly the heroine is abandoned to impoverished strangers.
Valuable Egyptian jewelry is waylaid.
The handsome hero searches fruitlessly...why hadn't she trusted his directive? Danger from a shadowy former mistress.
Finally love saves the day.
Marriage takes place, fade to black.
More than 200 pages' worth.
An excellent sendoff to dreamland.

But I grasped some history from that novel:
Detailed descriptions of polished furniture (I can smell the wax and smoking candles), I can feel the old fabrics; pelisses trimmed with fur, wide shining ribbons of silk knotted onto straw hats, velvet slippers (dress shoes), soft polished leather riding boots, cravats and starched shirts.

I can taste the delicious duck confit and steaming apple pudding set on the sideboard by the footman. I can smell the tea.
Egyptian dust tickles my nostrils. Perspirations sparkles on soft cheeks,
ocean-going steamers bring them home.The rocking carriage ride to the church is vivid; horses snorting, the equipage leathers
squeaking, damp heath steaming with fog. fog.
Books called to me. Come and learn.

January 15, 2007


Hounds and Dog Friends

1. Sam, a black Cocker spaniel, chased the garbage man, hunting dog.

2. Tia, German Shorthaired pointer, well trained hunter, rsponded only to my dad's commands, 14 puppies, liked to run around town, fat and happy.

3. Kelly, mostly silky white w. reddish brown, Tia's puppy, killed a sheep on the last farm in Kentfield which now is a storage facility, had to be put down, because dogs will repeat that behavior.

4. Jenny, German Shorthair, dad's dog, spoiled, happy, chased cars and people on bikes, drank beer out of the bottle.

5. Many of Jenny's puppies...too many to count...running rampant on the beach, with grins and happy faces, tongues flapping in the bright breezy day.

6. Bluebeard, a friendly Bloodhound who liked to follow his nose across wild ocean channels, up beaches, miles north. He was tied to a huge washed-up telephone pole...with lots of rope...sitting in snuffling majesty under bright skies. A small jeep with kids came by to see him. He started bounding with lips flapping, eager slobbering to say hello, they started speeding away....chasing the vehicle all the way 'til the end of the rope.

7. Peaches, Labrador retriever, picked out of the litter for her mellow roly poly nature. Turned out she was only sleepy...her true nature was an eager, big, stocky, happy, dog, our first family dog. The childrens' best friend. Two litters with the lab next door, through the wire fence. Shed like a German Shepherd. Killed by a car in the road. They didn't stop. Our hearts were broken.

8 Topper, Peaches' pup. Tall, gingery and gangly, soft as velvet, best friend to children and cats, needed comforting when we lost Peaches. Wasn't thrilled with the idea of a basset hound puppy replacement. Lived peacefully until he could not get up anymore. Putting him down was humane and utterly painful.

9. Opal, a Basset queen...a princess...the sweetest, softest, smallest, smartest dog of all. A thinker. She knows so many tricks, she gets mixed up and does them all at the same time. Snores loudest. Stinkiest. She fit in our hand at 6 weeks, too young to be away from her mother. Now she sleeps only on beds and couches. Adored Topper whom she drove crazy. Chewed the leg of a century old oak table.

10. Holly, golden retriever, rescue dog, dark red, a field retriever, adores her master with a passion that requires tranquilizers. Don't leave her alone. Tears up the house, scratches doors, pulls down drapes...don't separate her from HIM. Chases cats, soft with the longest fur ever. Soft cheeks equal only to Opal's. Goes to work with her adored master as often as possible, sitting patiently in the driver's seat.

11. Don't forget Boo Doggie, a Border collie! A puppy in a box with free dog food. Only training he got was to beg. Liked to bite trees as he sped along in the truck, sometimes getting knocked senselessly to the back of the bed...only to start barking and biting again. Swam further out into the lake when the Ranger showed up. Soft fur, shiny black and white.

Dear friends all, our sisters and brothers.

Colors Links Photos Blog?

Why can I not find fonts, color, or cool stuff for my blog?
Anyone? Anyone? Blogger People are you out there?!

Lemme try a photo.
Do you see a dog in a hat?
As I type I only see:

Now I'll try skiping a line or 2 to start a new paragraph:

Did it work?
Now I'll try a link: LINK TO DOGS IN HATS

That's it, I'm outtahere!


Is this blog going to let me blog or what?

Or is it just as silly as the other one.

Anyone know what's going on?
Lemme know!