Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Where Have All the Puppies Gone?

Six Months
They were born on October 29, 2015 and came to live with us on December 23, 2015. They are our greatest joy.

Well, except when they want out at 4am or when they get mad at you for some perceived slight (like not throwing the ball long enough or when demanded) and they pee on the floor in front of you! The hooligans (as Dr. Boos has nicknamed them) are getting trained (again).

This time the training is local. And it goes like this.

Our deck is a health hazard. It has screws and nails popping out of old, dried out planks and the underside is full of wood rot. Our intention, when we moved in nearly 5 years ago, was to immediately replace the deck. We started to.....
Then just repaired the GIANT hole and replaced the newly leaking roof!

But now the deck is getting rather rickety and with two pups playing Ricky Racer orSumo Wrestler or Champion Ear Puller, something was going to give.

And it was not going to be the pups or us.

The removal of the old deck was scheduled to begin this week.

So we began looking for a place to board the dogs. They are puppies and bonded to each other so we wanted to be very careful where they spent the night much less two weeks away from home.


We did not want a kennel where they would stay in a concrete run or a place where they were in the kennel more than they were out of it. We also wanted a place where they had human contact and lots of supervised play time.

Now the first place one goes to when searching for something is-----the internet! The internet knows everything.

After a while this one place keeps popping up. And on its list of recommendators (is that a word?) are two friends of mine.

It had some nice features. Big play yards, human supervision 24/7 AND the DOGS and the owners had to be "interviewed" to make sure they would get along with other dogs.

So I filled out the application and immediately got a response that the trainer would like to meet with the dogs (and us) where we could see the pups interact with other dogs. So we go to a park that has a fenced off dog park. And we meet Justin.

Within seconds (well, minutes...) he has two wild and crazy puppies sitting, heeling, and (best of all) not barking at people or other dogs.

Into the dog area we go. The pups have never been in such a place and to say I was a bit anxious would have been an understatement.

And two things happened. Gracie remained shy and showed no signs of aggression. George, on the other hand, "put on the Giz"*!  He said hi to every dog and every person, played tag with any dog that wanted to play and then came back to tell Gracie that all was ok.

They were accepted to LoveDogs Camp. They spent one night there and were put on probation for barking at night.

So Justin came to the rescue. A little training in dealing with BIG DOGS and a little inclusion of their home routine did the trick. They came home the second time exhausted and filthy! Two very happy puppies!

They are now there for two weeks because this started this morning--

So, where have all the puppies gone? They have gone to camp!!!!



*Putting on the Giz is a reference to my father Harold "Giz" Gisvold. He would work a room by glad handing, chatting, greeting everyone and otherwise being a social butterfly. He descendants, even if suffering from introversion, know how to "put on the Giz". George has is down pat. 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Growing up girl

Terry Orr, me, Jackie McLees and Marilyn McLees (year and age debatable

 When I was in kindergarten at Jefferson School in 1956 I was in an outdoor pageant. I think every kid in the school was.

But the kindergartners were part of the story of settling the West. Jackie (above) was a settlers "wife" and was riding in a covered wagon. Terry was a cowboy (I think---give me a break it was a few moons ago that this all happened!)

I was suppose to be an Indian "squaw" and stay in the background around the teepee.

Well, I objected. And apparently I objected loudly. I wanted to be in the war party. I was told that girls weren't part of war parties. I saw no sense in that.

So my grandmother sewed me a fringed "Indian" dress and my mom got me a toy bow and arrow and somehow, I was allowed to run from the back towards the "settlers" screaming at the top of my 5 year old lungs, waiving my bow and arrow. I was part of the "war party"!

I was 5.

When I was 8 I was told that I couldn't go fishing with my dad and brothers because it was too dangerous for a girl.

When I was 13 I was told that I couldn't run in track because it might damage my private parts.

When I was 16 I was told that I needed to be "more appealing" (translation: sexier looking) And just a note of reality--I am built exactly like my father---skinny legs, rounded belly, no waist and no butt! I was a tomboy and built like one.

When I was 22, living in Florida, I was told that I could not buy a car without the signature of my father or my husband. My spouse was in a B-52 somewhere over or nearly over VietNam and my father was in California.

In the late 70's, as a single mom, I was told that I could only work as a secretary at minimum wage.

I objected. I had a beautiful, smart daughter and I would provide for her. So I decided to go to law school.

I was told that I would not be allowed to work in a courtroom.
I was told I wasn't smart enough. 

My first interview out of law school started with this question (from a guy in a blue suit):
 "So, why does a pretty young thing like you want to be working in law?"

 I left.

When I began my career in a courtroom I allowed judges and other attorneys to bully me into taking a back seat. It took me a few years but that no longer happens. I strive to keep my power, my words.

Those are just the highlights that immediately came to mind when Hillary Clinton took the stage to accept the Democratic Nomination for President of the United States. 

And I thought of all the slings and arrows that she has taken. I thought of all the slings and arrows most women have taken in this world.

And I cried.

I didn't think I would. I didn't think it would bring up old stuff. But it did.

All the times I was told that I was less than a boy. All the times I was told I wasn't as smart as a boy (when I knew I was) All the times I had to find different ways to get to my goals because I didn't have the boy connections. They all came forward in those few minutes.

I can and have let go of most of the feelings of anger and frustration. But I will always remember all those times. I will hold them close and cherish them. They made me who I am.

And the beautiful, smart daughter?



She went from picking cherries to picking juries.




Thursday, July 7, 2016

La Penquina

La Penguina

The story actually begins several years ago. To be perfectly clear, it began when a fellow Public Defender in Bakersfield bought me an Opus t-shirt. I loved Opus (and Bloom County) But my love for the absurd turned absurdly into a fascination with penguins (as opposed to Puffins).

I began collecting penguins. Statutes and the like. Not real live penguins (or even dead ones) just representations of penguins. Artistic, whimsical, weird, whatever.

Hand sculpted by an artist in Monterey

Part of the collection
 Anyway, I was a bit nuts about collection. I even have socks (several pair) with penguins on them.

That led to the gestation and birth of La Penguina.
She was born the year that Vocal Arts was going to tour Argentina and Uruguay. I had signed up for the trip and paid a goodly portion of the costs.

But work raised its ugly head. I got some big cases that were not going to let me take two weeks off to fly to South America and sing. I was pissed. Then I resigned my self to living the trip through photographs and other people's stories.

And penguins have what to do with this? You asked so I will tell you.

I have a kid who is rather inventive when it comes to such situations. She bought several plastic penguins and gave them to various members of the touring group. (Yes, she was going) The instructions were that La Penguina (the collective name for all of the penguins) was to accompany the member wherever they went and provide pictures to prove that she was there. La Penguina was me in abstentia.

It was a really cool idea and I loved that people would do such a thing. But then there was a hiccough.

Just a little glitch.

Argentina was in a bit of a political crisis. It seems that the President of Argentina and  the ranchers and farmers in the country were have a bit of a disagreement. Strikes were being called for and things were a bit tense. The ranchers and company had given the President a rude name. In Argentina the name was------ wait for it!

La Penguina!

The tour group was told that it was not a good idea to be seen taking photographs with a penguin in the group. It might cause trouble. It would be considered a political statement.

Me? Cause trouble? Even when I am absent!

So La Penquina was put into purses and bags and carried everywhere anyway. Just fewer pictures.

And why this long missive about La Penguina.

I usually have a reason to include these stories in my writing. And I do!

This week (in fact, yesterday) The Kid and her Spouse headed off for a bit of a vacation and the Kid knew I would love where they are going. So she packed La Penguina....

Safely packed for the flight
And every picture she has sent me from the British Virgin Islands has La Penguina.

Ah, the British Virgin Islands


I am really enjoying this one!!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

How To Be A Gentleman (or The Beta Dog Comes Through)

Exhibit A
Gracie
Exhibit B

George
This story begins with Miss Gracie playing under the bush (see exhibit A, above). She is playing very happily. Meanwhile, Mr. George, in Exhibit B, above, (yes, he looks like Grumpy Cat) is grumpy because little Miss Gracie has taken "THE STICK" and then went to play in the bushes.

A round of wrestling, mouth fighting, and "Ricky Racer" ensues shortly after Mr. George has thought through the problem and has determined his next tactical move.
 
 
 
This results in an occurrence of "Tired Puppy Syndrome"








 
 
 
 
 
But today something very odd occurred after the usual physical discussion. But I must back up a bit to provide the necessary clarity. Otherwise, dear reader and puppy lover, the significance will be lost. 

We have been trying desperately to explain the proper puppy use of the interior floor versus the exterior ground. The pups, although bright in learning "food", "puppy central" (where all treats are given) have had difficulty with the word "No" and the lessons regarding interior and exterior.
 
Being as both of us together have about 40 years of education and have participated in a rather intellectually demanding profession, we considered all of our options and determined that the use of a dog door would be advantages to the understanding of the concept we were trying to impart to the pups. 
 
The dog door already exited in our house. Zelda was a great fan. But it is in the laundry room which is beyond the boundaries of Puppy Land. (Pups are currently jailed in the living room/kitchen area.) So, additional barriers had to be constructed to prevent free reign of the house by leaking puppies.
 
Then we introduce the pups to the concept of door usage. Within 5 minutes Mr. George had it. But Miss Gracie was very reluctant. We finally decided to leave them outside and see if Miss Gracie could learn from her brother.
 
And this is where it got interesting.
 
George came in on his own. But Gracie was still outside, lying on the deck, looking at the door. She would not come near it. George, on his own, went back outside, went up to Gracie, turned around and came back through the door. Gracie came to the door but would not come through it. George came back to the door, pushed his nose through it, sat on the outside step with the swinging door resting on his back and made room for Gracie to go through. And she did.
 
George opened and held the door for Gracie!
 
Gracie may be the Alpha dog but George is in charge of the door!
 
 
 

Friday, November 13, 2015

And Then There Were Two.......

Losing Zelda was hard. I came home from the vet's knowing that we had done the right thing, she was so very, very sick. But her paw prints were still on the hardwood floors and there was no one to share my apple with.

It was an outcome that we knew was coming for a long while. We had been waiting for Zelda to tell us it was time. And it was.

As we reflected our our years with our dogs we realized that we had not been without a dog for 18 years! We had grown accustomed to their faces. We knew we had to get another dog. And we knew we could not make a rash decision.

So I began my search.

The first place I went to was Zim's Cockers. They still have a website although they retired from breeding a few years ago. They were one of the nations premier breeders of Cocker Spaniels in the nation and they were in Grover Beach!

That eventually led me to El Shaddai Cockers in Cherry Valley, California (near Riverside/Palm Springs). They had puppies.

I looked at the pictures, I researched the breeder, I did all the things that you are suppose to do.

Then I called. She had 4 boys and 1 girl. Sables.

The parents were gorgeous and the breeding line was good.

So, within a few hours we were expecting, on December 24, 2015 to add two puppies to our menagerie.

girl

boy

Mom--this is a sable coat.
We are thinking up names (which we won't decide on until the puppies are here) but here are a few:

Hansel and Gretel
George and Gracie (running in first place right now)
Captain and Tenniel (sp)
Harry and Sally
Luke and Leila

We are open to suggestions. There is no prize and there may not be a winner. It depends on the pups.

I miss Mohawk and LadyBug and Zelda. I will always miss them. But I am excited to begin a new pack.




Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Passing of the Pack

The Pack- LadyBug, Zelda and Mohawk
They were a pack and Mel and I were pack leaders. Zelda and LadyBug had numerous "discussions" over who was queen Cocker but they acted as a pack. Zelda's main job was to warn the pack of perceived danger. Lizards, birds, dirt clods, clumps of grass would all receive the same warning signal. A loud and vociferous barking.

When Mohawk and LadyBug left us on October 26, 2013, Zelda went silent. She never barked again. Her pack was gone.

And then she started getting eye infections and ear infections. Things that she had never suffered before.

Then she was diagnosed with Cushing's disease.

She perked up for awhile.

But this last year has seen her at the vet's office more often. Her medication went from one pill a day to one per day and one every other day and one every third day.

She preferred to just eat and sleep. She had cataracts and the last ear infection left her deaf.

This last week she wouldn't go outside at night and she broke her house training.

Today she looked at me and I knew.

Dr. Sagartz at Arroyo Grande Veterinary Hospital did an ulta-sound that showed a grossly enlarged liver and gall bladder.

And so, after 14 wonderful years, we said goodnight to Zelda.

I hope there is a doggy heaven and that she is there. With her pack.

 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A Very Merry Unbirthday

I have often related that the Christmas season is a LOUSY time for a birthday. Before December 25 people are running around doing things that "must" be done to get ready for the day. Then, after December 25 they sorta disappear as they make ready for the New Year parties and galas and football games.

So when your birthday falls between December 25 and January 1 you are in no-man's land.

Birthday/Christmas gifts are the answer for many people and are TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE to the recipient.

I was bemoaning this fact (okay, I was whining) to the fellow members of my weaving class. And a (rather raucous) discussion turned into what would be appropriate as an "unbirthday" party for me. Some very inappropriate suggestions were made (causing several people to miss count their threads and have to start all over again--laughing and rolling on the floor does that)

Now this group of women know me to be rather--how would you say this........bold in my use of language. They also know that it is difficult to embarrass me.

Therefore, the inappropriate suggestions were, in fact, quite appropriate.


This week I appeared and after our opening lesson our instructor excused herself to go get some hot tea for us. (Her studio is next to her home) She came back with cookies, jasmine tea, and a birthday card. They gave me a cute tree ornament that resembled one of the churches Vocal Arts sang in this past July.

My cup of tea had a "flower" in it that was quite pretty.

The whole thing made me very happy.

My friends gave me a Very Merry Unbirthday.

Thank you so very merry much!