Thursday, June 30, 2011

Perimeter Breach?

I have to share with you a funny incident that just happened...

Our apartment building was scheduled to have the exterior painted today.  We were told ahead of time and knowing Nyxie's...idiosyncrasies, I decided to walk the girls earlier than usual to avoid any chance encounters with an army of white-clad painters and their many tools.

We were back home, with the blinds drawn, in large part, due to the heat.  I typed and read, while the girls played joyfully at my feet.  Bitey Face on!

Suddenly, there was a loud THUMP on the balcony.  The painters had finally reached our balcony and were ready to start working just on the other side of our sliding glass door.  In mid play-hop, Nyxie stopped.  She stood stock-still and stared at the drawn blinds.  One, two, maybe three seconds passed and then she let out a loud WOOF!!!

Last week Daddy groomed Nyxie on the "once safe" balcony.  Daddy didn't know I was filming ;)

In those moments of silence,  a scary realization dawned on her : PERIMETER BREACH - FROM THE BALCONY!  I don't think she ever imagined she'd have 2 potential points of entry to patrol!  I lured them into their crates immediately, some quick behavior exercises followed by a chewy treat each, and the world was made good again.

The painters have since finished, but poor Nyxie's been keeping a close eye on that balcony all afternoon...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Stormy Road Ahead - The First Leg from Maine to New Jersey

Matt had brilliantly planned our route south from Maine.  He took into account the travel time and distance through each major city along our beloved East coast to meticulously avoid each rush hour and “sun in the eyes” time.  Our trip started around four in the afternoon, leading us through New York at dark. 

The girls seemed confused and edgy, certainly reflecting our own feelings as we left our beloved Maine.  What was ahead?  What would Texas be like?  We had no idea.  I can’t imagine the girls had any thoughts of this, but the drive early on was tense and uncertain.  We felt displaced and alone -tiny specks on a map line, eating mile after mile of road.  We wondered what our friends in Portland were doing as we lumbered on towards Texas. 

We kept our eyes peeled for rest areas that were well lit and busy enough to seem welcoming, but deserted enough to allow Nyxie to stretch her legs without creating a scene.  We stopped about every four hours.  We both love road trips, but Matt is definitely the one best capable of driving long distances.  The older I get, the more apt I am to feel dreadfully sleepy while driving unless something keeps me company.  Matt needed sleep on his breaks and the girls’ quiet panting was mesmerizing.  Haimmie slumbered in his hammock and Miss Poo continued being a snake – neither of which provided any sort of lively company.  My eyes started to droop somewhere in New Jersey until I saw the first streak if lightening.  Seconds later, I heard the thunder and knew it was time to stop again before the rain followed.

Haimmie snoozed in his hammock most of the drive, oblivious to the miles rushing past us.

The New Jersey rest stop was bright and gaudy, with neon signs advertising coffee and pizza.  I wanted neither but the girls needed water and a leg break.  Turning off the engine woke Matt and we carefully extracted the girls from their tiny half-backseat.  Each of these walks was nerve-wracking for me.  I imagined the girls dashing past me in their excitement to get out of the car.  I imagined broken leashes and injuries that would require emergency vet care.  I imagined losing my girls and that fear was physically painful.  As they were growing restless and undoubtedly infected by my own fear, I decided to slip them a sedative cocktail.  I gave each girl a Pill Pocket with dreamy drugs – just enough Ace Promazine for their weight range.  Another thunder crack, this time closer than the last.  With Arwen and Nyxie back in the car, and Matt still snoozing away his well-earned nap, I headed into the rest stop and did some comfort shopping – Twinkies, Cokes, a candy bar and a couple of bottled waters.  I couldn’t find anything I could justify buying in the rest stop, and just made it back to the xB (remember the magical car?) as plump rain drops pelted the windshield.  The storm was upon us. 

Note all the space around Arwen?  NOT taken while on our road trip.  Imagine Nyxie next to her, both squished by "stuff"

“Where are we?” muttered Matt, lifting his hat from his face.

“Still in New Jersey.  There’s a nasty storm rolling in so we’ll be here awhile.”

“Damn” he exhaled, settling farther into his pillow.  Behind him, the girls rested their heads and eyes began to droop.  I sat wide awake, scanning the parking lot and locking the doors. 

“Go to sleep, girls – Momma’s got you covered.”

Soooo sleeeepy.....

Please check out a couple of articles I've written lately.  Feel free to "Like" or leave comments!

The 1st is about my imaginary summer vacation and is featured on the Fido Friendly Blog.

The 2nd discusses some of what we found in Dallas when we arrived and is featured on the HelloDallas website.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Armagghedon and Chicken Little

With each rush of the wind and the almost continuous flashes of lightning, Nyxie clung quietly nearby. She doesn't exactly have storm anxiety, and we're careful to keep our energy at calm levels. I'd call what she exibits as "storm uncertainty". She keeps close tabs on us, trying to gauge whether she has cause for true concern.

Keeping Blue Bear safe from thunderboomers

We took our last of the evening walk with the girls at the storm's edge. The razor line between stagnant humidity and the sky spilling its weight. In what had to be 50 mile per hour winds, I held tightly to Arwen's leash and Matt to Nyxie's for that last potty break of the night. All I could think of were pee pads.  No bugs milling about, just a poor up-ended beetle, struggling to right itself.  I nudged it into the bushes.  We saw a bird fly quickly past, surely a Herculean effort in that wind!

As the second night of severe thunderstorms crashed overhead, we braced ourselves for yet another groggy morning.  Without further adieu, I bring you "Texas Weather".

**The video was taken by my phone, so please excuse the quality.  Amazing lightning at about 0:49 and close to the very end, but otherwise, the video is VERY dark! **

I promise to resume my story about our move from Maine to Texas in my next post.  There's just been too much to share lately!
Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.2

Monday, June 20, 2011

Awards and Good Things

As usual I'm late in catching up with the awards being circulated in blogville lately.  We've been given 2 wonderful awards!  When I first started blogging about the girls and their positive impact on my life, I had no idea what kind of response I'd receive for both my stories about them and the way these stories are told.  As it turns out, we've been well-received and even have a few followers!
I love writing about my girls.  They challenge me to be kind, patient and other-centered.  Simply put, they bring out the best in me.

We received this award from the White Dog Diary Online and Bailey Be Good!

There are some blogs I seek out when I want the comfort of kind words, positive thoughts or even just a good giggle.  Among many others, these blogs stand out for inspiring general doggie goodness:

White Dog Diary Online - Positive to the core.  Uplifting and truly conscious of creating a better world through actions and the written word.  Proud to be your friend!

Bailey Be Good! - Another positive, thoughtful and bright person taking care of a lovely young pup.  Your words bring me hope!

Mango and Dexter's Great Adventures - You always put a smile on my face and bring me back to that rich New England humor that I miss so dearly.

The Chronicle of Woos - I look forward to your pics of those gorgeous Sibes of yours.  And now I find out you're "family"?!  Well - it all makes sense then!

Romping and Rolling in the Rockies - Breathtaking pics writing with a purity of soul.  A clear, honest voice.  Each time I read your blog I want to throw everything in my car and go live in the woods!

T2 - My Life With Pit Bulls - Logical, passionate and smartly written.  There's an honest edge to your voice that I admire.

Two Pitties in the City - Caring, hopeful, and honest.  I love these 2 wonderful Pitties and their humans and miss them when I can't get to reading my blogs.

Adventures of Anna the GSD - This is one of the funniest blogs out there.  Each time I read about Anna, she cracks me up.  She has the voice of a true Diva!

Kol's Notes - Another super funny blog.  I always know Kol's frank way of telling it like it is will have me chuckling and sharing the post with my DH.

Khyra's Khorner - Thoughtful, love in action - Khyra's mom does a rescue run each week, helping to directly save lives!

Eva the Sheltie - Eva is so pure of heart - And beautiful, too!

The Shenanigans of Shawnee the Shepherd - Shawnee's was one of the 1st dog blogs I ever read and I was immediately hooked.  Each week I look forward to another gorgeous installment of Vitamin "N" - Nature! 

If you haven't checked out these blogs, you're missing out.  They're awesome!

And this award we got from Kol's Notes!

Now this one comes with rules, so here goes - I need to tell you 7 things about us and pass this on to 15 uber-versatile bloggers.  Here goes:
1) Arwen loves massages.  I give her regular back massages and she just eats them up!  She has arthritis in her back, so I imagine these little rub-downs feel pretty good to her.

2) Nyxie has a sensitive tummy, like GSD's are prone to have.  Stress will give her the runs pretty quickly.  We try to keep things low-key ;)

3) I lived in New Orleans for a few months after college.  That was quite an adventure!

4) I've worked in a residential treatment center for teens at one of the oldest psychiatric hospitals in the nation (since closed) and afterwards, as a social worker for teen girls.

5) I'm an avid Red Sox fan, like my wonderful father before me.  We used to sit together and watch the games on TV and we even saw a couple together at Fenway!  I was lucky enough to be living in Portland when they won the World Series in 2004 and could celebrate with die-hard fans.  In my dad's lifetime, he never saw them win the World Series.

6) Matt does the majority of the cooking in our home.  I am a very lucky woman.  He likes to cook with simple, basic ingredients, bringing out their flavors to perfection.  Yum!

7)  I have a 13 year old stepdaughter - daughter, really - whom I met when she was 3 years old.  We were lucky enough to have her come back into our lives after a 3 year absence while living with her mother out of state.  I'm blessed she's back in our lives.

It was tough to pick only 15 blogs as "versatile", because I think we all have to be versatile to continue blogging.  You'll find some repeats from above on this list, but maybe their versatility is inspirational!  These are the blogs that I find most versatile:

1) White Dog Diary Online
2) Two Pitties In the City
3) Kol's Notes
4) Bailey Be Good!
5) Pet Blogs United
6) Five Sibes
7) Roo's Doins
8) A Scratch Behind the Ears (and Other Nice Things)
9) Adventures of Anna the GSD
10) Heartbeats
11) I Still Want More Puppies
12) 24 Paws of Love
13) CyberSibes
14) animal lover, quilt lover
15) The Dogs of Greenhill Farm

Please check these blogs out if you haven't already - they're definite winners!  I can't thank you all enough for reading my brain droppings.  I'm lucky to be able to share the magic of Arwen and Nyxie!

My next post will be the 2nd installment of our big move from Maine to Dallas.  If you haven't read the first, you can do so here.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Keep It Simple - The Story of our Move from Maine to Texas Three Years Ago

Travel light.

Three years ago, Matt was approached by his friend about a business opportunity in Dallas too good to refuse.  We decided to leave Maine's fast declining economy and start fresh.  That was our goal when we first decided to move from Maine to Texas in a Scion XB.  If you’re familiar with the car, you know they look like little toasters on wheels.  These are not cars that you’d associate with luxury travel, but somehow, Toyota has managed some Japanese magic.  What looks tiny on the outside actually proves pretty roomy on the inside.  Despite the magical car, we knew to plan for our move early.  With 2 dogs, a ferret and a snake, planning was paramount.

Japanese magic!

We started by separating all the “junk” from all the “must keep” items.  For about two months prior to our move, we held weekly garage sales.  Surely, our neighbors would let out a collective groan as we hauled out our crap each weekend.  Living on the 3rd floor of an old Victorian apartment building, this was both a challenge and a workout.  We were determined to start fresh and leave what was burdensome and unnecessary behind.  There’s nothing quite like unpacking a box that was left sealed from your last move and realizing you have no earthly use for the contents anymore. 

“So that’s where I put my old  insert useless item here !” 

Being together for almost 10 years, we’d accumulated quite a bit of Stuff.  Stuff was everywhere, really.  We had closets of Stuff stored for some imagined future use.  An antique mirror bought at auction – too large and heavy to hang properly.  More shoes than any seven people could wear in a lifetime.  Christmas ornaments and kitchen mini appliances, knick-knacks and old puppy toys.  We had it all.

Spare junk bedroom and the Nyxie blur pup

And we sold it all.  Little by little, we sold furniture, clothes, shoes, suitcases, appliances, books and artwork.  What we didn’t sell through garage sales, we sold on Craigslist or gave to neighbors and our dear friends.  It was liberating!  “Keeping it simple” took on a whole new meaning.    

We kept the photographs, the love letters we’d sent to one another, the plants, some clothes, treasured odds and ends, some jewelry and important documents, books I couldn’t bear to part with, and the creatures.  Miss Poo, our ball python, was placed in an old pillowcase in a reptile-proof Rubbermaid and Haimmie, our ferret, was set up in a cat carrier with hammock and all.  He wasn't sick then so we weren't worried about how the trip might effect him.  The girls were sardined into a half-backseat covered with soft blankets and pillows, their personal effects within easy reach of us in the front seats.  With everyone packed in tightly, we drove out of Portland for the last time.  It was a scary, exciting time.  We felt free and unencumbered by the Stuff.  The important Stuff was there with us in that tiny, magical car. 

The Pack was headed west- together!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

All For One Clothing Company

All For One - "Making a difference in the lives of shelter dogs!" 

Check out this great company founded by Brandon Hopkins who's dedicated to helping dogs like his own rescued "Shilo". AND he lets me write for his newsletter! Arwen's story is the second one the "newsletter" tab.  We're in good company with Siku of The White Dog Army as the first story on that same page.   To subscribe. let me know!