Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Dukester

Well, let's see...we paid $25 for this lab/retriever mix named Duke, then promptly spent about $200 on food, supplies, a cage to handle him up to his future size, and a visit to the vet. I've since dug up every flower, plant and shrub in the two larger beds out back with no intention of replacing them for a while. What's the point? Duke digs and chews and eats everything but his poop (so far). I've also cleaned up quite a few "number ones" in the house, because we've still a ways to go before we master house training.

And so far it's all been worth it. He's just so darn adorable!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sixteen Candles

This will forever be my favorite photo of Bailey.

I like that it's personal and intimate, and that only the people who really knew Bailey at this age understand what they're seeing in this photo. Much has changed since the day I took this picture of her pouting on the trampoline for reasons only she understood, and I'm anxious, nervous, and excited to see what the next few years will bring. Happy Sweet Sixteen, Bailey!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Several people have asked how Junior and Duke are getting along, or rather how Junior is reacting to us bringing a large crazy puppy into his domain. This pretty much sums it up:

Duke thinks Junior is awesome. Junior thinks Duke is another target.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


The San Francisco Zoo was nice, but no better than some other zoos I've been to, especially the San Antonio Zoo and the Fort Worth Zoo. I purposely didn't post pictures from our zoo visit, because honestly who likes to see someone's zoo photos? They're really boring if you ask me. However, I thought this was pretty cool. We got to watch two grizzly bears play and wrestle, up close and personal:

And while I was standing there watching this, I thought back to the night at the tent cabin in Yosemite. I'd mentioned that we'd been given "bear aware" warnings, which included not having anything in your car or tent with a scent - chapstick, water, deodorant, you name it. Everything had to go in the lock box outside the tent. Here's the picture again so you can see the lock box.

So about 3:30 a.m. I woke up to a sound right outside the tent, less than a foot from mine and Alan's pillows. Something was banging on the lock box. HARD. As I lay there, I tried envisioning a really strong raccoon, or fox, or coyote...anything but a bear. And then I heard a loud "sniff." Oh Lord. And then what sounded about another 10 yards a way...a low moan. Oh my. There were two of them, whatever they were. And then "it" walked over to the tent right next door and started banging on their lock box. Once my heart stopped racing, I eventually fell asleep. Scary, yes...but exciting, YES.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Oh Dear

So I used to have a large, mature Mexican feather plant that somehow survived under my care for the past three seasons. It's now a place for Duke to spread out and chew on his rawhide. Two feet from this feather plant are, I mean were, three good-size pittosporum shrubs that had finally matured enough to grow together in pretty mounds. Two of those shrubs have now been split down the middle, because why in the world would one walk around shrubs when you can barrel through them?

And do you see the leafy remnants on the lounge chair in the foreground? Before yesterday, I had a purple potato vine that was coming back to life and really thriving in a cheap plastic pot. Duke felt it best to rip it out of the pot, and then make several trips to the chaise lounge with a mouth full of leaves and stems. There's also a fern that he knocked over, so it remains to be seen if that plant will survive.

At 11 weeks, he's maybe a third his full size and weight. I guess I better get hanging plants and large enough pots that can't be knocked over. And I guess I have some plants to dig up and toss.

A year ago I'm pretty confident I would have freaked out, as any normal person would have, right? But it's all relative. There have been bigger fish to fry for a while now, and Duke's puppy adventures are small beans. And he makes us laugh, which is so nice.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

New Addition

Hi. I'm Duke. You'll be hearing a lot about me, I'm sure.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

San Francisco

I could live there, for maybe a year or two. I've always wanted to experience that kind of lifestyle - that cramped, New York City kind of lifestyle where you do a lot of walking and use public transportation and have so much variety all around. I want to step out of my home, walk around the corner to a coffee shop with sidewalk seating, read the paper (of course I'd have to start reading a newspaper for once in my life), and people watch. Or I'd be so inspired by all the fit, athletic types running up and down the hilly streets that I'd throw on my running shoes and join them. Maybe.

Not the best photo, but I was in the car as we headed down Lombard Street, "The Crookedest Street."

I think what I like about San Francisco is that it doesn't feel like a big, concrete, polluted city, yet it has all the positive amenities such as dining, things to do, events, etc. It feels clean and pretty. Maybe it's all that white Victorian architecture that I'm "blinded" by, or the hills or the marine atmosphere or the sunsets...I just like it. I'm a fan.

Sunset at Pier 39.

Okay, back to our trip. I had high hopes for this part of the vacation. How could anyone, especially teenagers, not be wowed by the sites and sounds of this city? I've seen the shows they watch on MTV and VH1 - San Francisco should be right up their alley! What I thought was clean and pretty, they thought was dirty and gross. What I thought was entertaining, they were offended by. Riding the trolley and the metro with smelly, obnoxious sorts was not their cup of tea. Okay, perhaps it was a little offensive when the fat old man in the cut-off shirt and protruding belly bumped into Keena and said, "Get out of the way you piece of meat!" Ouch. Or the beggars along the sidewalks of Fisherman's Wharf who yelled out profanities for reasons only their schizophrenic minds understand.

San Francisco is different, and you either appreciate those differences or are turned off by them. And honestly, after a year or two I'd probably be turned off. For now, I hope it's a place we (meaning Alan and I) visit from time to time.

If you ever go to San Francisco, you must cross the Golden Gate! It's a must-see, up close and personal. So beautiful!