Seven

Weston And Hedgie

Weston And Hedgie (Photo credit: Tj Parker Photography)

Our boy turns seven today.  Seven years of love and snuggles and play and joy and laughter and smiles and exasperation and sweetness and tail wagging and pawing and cuddle-time and barks and bullies and deep soulful looks.  Happy birthday little man, we love you so.

Weston at Saturday Market

Weston and Hedgehog

Weston and Hedgehog (Photo credit: Tj Parker Photography)

Sir Weston

Sir Weston (Photo credit: Tj Parker Photography)

Weston

Weston (Photo credit: Tj Parker Photography)

Weston in the creeper

Weston in the creeper (Photo credit: Tj Parker Photography)

Weston

Weston (Photo credit: Tj Parker Photography)

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Weston

Weston

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7:24 AM

7:24 AM

I wake up, suddenly.  I feel like someone is staring at me.  I turn over slowly and there he is, a small furry little fella with big brown eyes sitting over me looking down.  His eyes say everything he can’t speak.  I’m half awake and tell him no.  Gently at first… no buddy, lay down, lay down now.  He doesn’t take no for an answer and leans down and gives me a kiss on the cheek.  Again I say, no buddy, lay down.  He’s relentless.  I try to go a bit more firm with him, NO, Weston, lay down.  He ignores me.  We’re having a battle of wills.

I tell him I didn’t get to sleep until really late last night and in fact have only slept for about four or five hours.  He doesn’t seem to care.  I change tactics.  I ask if he needs to go outside.  Maybe that’s it.  I get up, he follows, and I think, OK, this is it.  I open the doggie door and he sticks his head out, then pulls it back in.  He sticks it out one more time, looks around, and again pulls it back in.  I don’t have time for these shenanigans.  I open the door, telling him it’s OK and that a little rain/freezing rain won’t hurt him and that I’ll stand right there in the door, in t-shirt and shorts, waiting for him.  It’s freezing cold outside and I’m cold waiting in the doorway.  He ventures out tentatively, makes it to the bottom of the steps, and immediately turns around and comes back in.  I shake my head and pad back toward the bedroom.  I need more sleep.

Of course, he follows me.  I get back in bed and look down.  He’s sitting on the floor next to the bed looking up at me, those big eyes doing their magic trick on me again.  Practically programmed I scoot back, making room for him.  I open up the covers and he jumps up effortlessly, laying down up against me with his head on my arm.  He demands to be petted for a while, continually nudging me with his nose until I get just the right spot on his tummy.  It’s nearly 8:00 AM now.  I still want to go back to sleep.

We stay in that place for what seems like a long while, me petting his tummy, him enjoying what we have come to call his morning cuddle time.  This is not the first time this scenario has happened.  He’s trained me well.

Finally, finally, I hear him snore.  This little sign tells me I can stop petting him and try to go to sleep.  I do.

9:15 AM

We both wake up.  Him still up against me, head on my arm.  I just spent over an hour spooning our boy.  I vow, as I get up, and he gets up reluctantly, that this won’t happen again.  It’s a vow I’ve made many times.  His soul filled eyes melt my heart, even when I’m irritated by him.  I remind myself he’s just a dog, but I love him so.

4:50 PM

He jumps up on the sofa next to me, stares at me with those eyes, and paws my hand.

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Oregon Odyssey – Day Seven & Eight

Ah road trips, how I love them.  The sights, the experience, the music played along the way.  They are glorious things.

When I was a kid our family did road trips all the time.  It was sort of our thing.  We mostly stayed in Oregon for these, though we did venture out to Arizona once, exploring different parts of the state.  We always stayed in Mom and Pop motels, which don’t exist as much today.  I loved those.  One time we stayed in a motel with a pool shaped like an airplane.  Very cool.  There were always things to see, places to stop along the way, new adventures to be had.  I grew up taking road trips and they got into my blood.

Luckily I met someone who loves to road trip as much as I do.  When K was young her family hit the road every year from California to Oklahoma.  During our drive out this past week she called her parents to confirm that their main route was route 66.  There wasn’t an interstate the majority of the time her family was doing these trips so route 66 was the main route between Los Angeles and Oklahoma.  Awesome.  As we drove out this last week we basically followed what was the old route 66 highway.  Now not even commissioned as a highway, there are still signs along the way indicting where route 66 was and there are long stretches of road you can still drive.  Those stretches take you past, as we saw, old gas stations and motels and diners that have fallen into disrepair long ago, though there are still some establishments up and running today.  It’s a bygone era, but along that route the feel is still there in some places.  It’s pretty cool.

I digress though and will get back to it by saying that we both love a good road trip.  It’s why we’ve decided on this trip every year.  It serves two purposes… we get to drive back out to Oregon and see everyone we love who lives there and who we miss, and we get to have the experience of traveling different routes out with the pups.  It’s tiring, but oh so much fun.

We finally arrived, day seven, after starting in Burns and driving highway 20 through Bend and Sisters, then highway 22 to Salem and the farm.  It was nice to get here.  Another great thing about road trips is the getting to your destination and getting up the next morning not having to drive anywhere.  It’s a good feeling.

We spent yesterday, our first non-driving day, doing some chores like taking our Toyota Tacoma in for servicing so we can put it up for sale, and helping Mom work on the garage at the farm.  She’s wanted to clean it out, reorganize, and paint for some time so we cleared that puppy out yesterday and went in and got the paint for it.  Today, we paint.

The pups adore Mom and my brother, Kevin.  They were very happy to see them and they also love the farm.  What dog wouldn’t.  They’ve been here many times and they basically get to roam pretty free while they’re here.  They were exhausted last night when we went to bed.  It’s nice for them.

It’s so good to be here and we’re looking forward to seeing friends and family while we’re here.  We love this place and the people in it, and we loved the getting here as well.

Pretty soon we’re going to have to start planning our trip back out to Illinois… wonder which route we’ll decide to take this time?

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Oregon Odyssey – Day Four

Today we moved from Santa Fe, New Mexico to Montrose, Colorado.  It wasn’t a bad day of driving really, about 6 and a half hours on the road after we checked out and then drove to not one, not two, but three coffee spots in Santa Fe before getting a cup.  Our first choice ended up being downtown, where a huge art festival had streets closed.  We would’ve loved checking it out actually, from what we could see as we drove past a closed off street the art was pretty awesome, but we had places to be and two dogs who don’t love crowds.  We might have braved the crowds with the pups, but time was not on our side.  So, on to the stop two.  We went for the next place on the list, which ended up not being in the downtown area, but was apparently so popular the entire parking lot was full.  On to spot three, which ended up being great.  If we lived in Santa Fe, and after visiting we kinda wish we did, we would go to the Santa Fe Baking Company often for both the coffee and the breakfasts.  The coffee was great and the breakfasts looked amazing as we passed tables of people with spectacular looking plates.  We did manage to get a couple of pastries to go along with the coffees.  Both were wonderful.

We decided we love both New Mexico and Southern Colorado.  We recommend Colorado highway 114 if you ever get the chance to drive it.  It’s not big, and it doesn’t really connect any bigs towns, but it’s worth it for the scenery.  It was amazing.  The photos we took don’t even do it justice.  Just some gorgeous landscape.

Another highlight was the second spot for coffee today, the Milagros Coffeehouse in Alamosa, Colorado.  A spur of the moment second cup craving led us to this cool local spot.  Yes, they had a Starbucks in town, but if you haven’t guessed by now, we prefer to go local and funky if we can.  Milagros was both.  Another place we would totally hang out if we spent any time at all in that town.  The brew from there was the best of the day.  Smooth, strong, and oh so tasty.

The pups are doing so well on this trip.  What great little travelers they are.  Weston gets his herbal car sick meds in the morning before we leave and they pretty much hang out in their area right behind us, what we like to call the pup lounge, while we’re on the road.  They have been rockstars so far.  Right now, after getting to play in the huge lawn at this motel (we brought the chuck it and played catch and chase with them for awhile), they are both crashed out in their little beds.  They’ve had dinner and their leashes are hanging on leash hooks by the door.

Tomorrow is a long one, probably eight hours on the road.  Eight hours with the dogs pushes it, and us, to the limit.  It will be tiring, but it will also be beautiful.  Colorado is a beautiful place.

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Oregon Odyssey – Day Two

Today was a long day on the road.  By choice we went an extra bit today so we could have a short day tomorrow.  More time in Santa Fe when we get there.  Because today was so long we didn’t do much stopping.  Gas, food, rest stops, and just two extra little stops.  One at the World’s Largest Fork in Springfield, MO and the other to photograph the Coleman Theater in Miami, OK where Don Hale used to go as a young gent.

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Impressions from the day:

Great coffee this morning from Mudhouse Coffee in Springfield, MO.  I regret not buying a t-shirt.  There was great art on the walls… many black and white photographs of people in white who had mud on them.  Loved it.  Also a great dinner tonight from Tyler’s Barbeque in Amarillo, TX.  The barbecue was Texas sized.  Sadly I think we threw away nearly as much as we ate.  Our room still smells of barbecue.  I think it was the best barbecue I’ve ever had.  All in all a very successful food and beverage day.

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Today was a scorcher … the thermostat in the rig topped out at 106.  It was so hot that when we stopped for our second cup of coffee in Oklahoma City the little girlie started hyperventilating and had to be carried back to the car.  She is a tad bit of a drama queen, but it was also hot hot hot.  A dry heat.

We are now fugitives in Oklahoma.  A tip for anyone driving on the Oklahoma Turnpike… there are not always attendants at the toll plazas meaning you have to have exact change.  We made it all the way to our last booth and then only had a $20.  There was a change machine, but it only took $1 and $5.  We looked at each other, saw the cars behind us lining up, looked at the red light which told us we couldn’t go unless we threw in the change we didn’t have, and we went on through anyway.  As we did the alarms went off at the booth.  I’m sure, if they took our photo as this happened, the people reviewing it will be cracking up.  Our facial expressions were a combo of amusement, consternation, shock, horror, and guilt.  Very funny.  I think we were both gesturing…. arms up in the air as if to say… what are we supposed to do in this situation?

In two days we’ve seen two enormous crosses.  One in Effingham, Illinois, and the other in some un-named little Texas town we passed.  They were pretty much equal in size.

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It rained on us today for awhile.  It was nice and decently cool while it was raining.  Then it got hot (see above).

We waved at Mangum, OK and Pryor, OK as we passed the exits with those names and then chatted about K’s childhood a bit.  She spent a lot of time in Oklahoma as a kid and it’s always fun talking about that.   Someday we need to do more than just drive through.  I’d love to see where she was born and some of the places she’s told me stories about.

We started this morning at 10:00… after getting coffee and photographing the fork, which I know sounds late, and got to Amarillo at 7:30.  Nine and a half hours on the road.  Tomorrow we have a short day, only four hours of driving.  Who knows what adventure we’ll find.  I love road trips.

 

We Love Them

Weston is a guy of deep thoughts and feelings.  He has soul.

I looked up a moment ago and there he was sitting on the chair in the corner looking out the window.  He looked like a person, deep in thought, contemplating all of life’s ups and downs.  He looked introspective and philosophical.  He looked like Weston usually looks.

Six years ago we decided we wanted to get a dog and we decided on a Schnoodle because Karen’s daughter, Mary, had one and we loved him.  So cute, great personality, small, and to top it off they don’t shed and they have hair akin to human hair so they don’t have dander and don’t smell like a dog.  Ever.  In fact they sort of have a smell all their own, each in their own way, like humans do.  But I digress.

We went and looked at some dogs in East/Central Oregon and when one of the little guys came over and licked my toe it was all over.  He was the one.  Six weeks later, in April of 2007, we went and picked him up in Portland where we met with the woman who raised him.  We’d had a name picked out for him already, but when we saw him, looked in his eyes, we knew instantly the name didn’t work.  He looked too smart for the name.  Too studious.  Too deep.  So on the drive back home, with the little guy sitting on Karen’s lap in the brand new bed we’d gotten for him, we threw names around.  None fit until somehow one of us, I think it was Karen, mentioned the town of his birth, Weston.  Yes, he was born in Weston, Oregon in the Blue Mountains.  We looked at each other and that was it.  Somehow, some way, Weston seemed right.  It suited him.  The him of major thought and intense looks.

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Now, nearly six years later, he still has that same look.  That deep look.  He looks at you and into you at the same time.  He is a guy of passionate feelings and sincere real love.  He is incredibly smart, cunning, and curious.  He is our little man.

Riley is girl of deep feelings, but of a different sort.  She’s a little spitfire.

A year after we were lucky enough to get Weston we decided he needed a companion for those times we had to leave him at home.  We didn’t want him to be alone.  We wanted him to have a little pal, a buddy.  He got a sister, not a natural born sister, but a sister none the less, and they have a love hate relationship.  We had a name picked out for her too, and that one ended up sticking.  Somehow Riley fits her.  She’s full of energy, very vocal, and loves to put her head up against our heads and have a little pet.  She gets so excited she can hardly contain herself, and is a tad quirky, but we adore her.

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This morning when I looked over at Weston looking out the window a wave of love came over me, as it does so often with both of our little furry babes.  Karen and/or I say, at least once a day I think, “I love them”.  One of us always says it and the other one then always says, “I do too”.  And we do.  We love them.  We love how they love us.  How Weston always welcomes us home with a whole body wiggle and Riley always wants to lay in a lap.  We love Weston’s kisses and the little girlie’s insistent pawing for a pet.  We even love their more annoying habits, as you do with little beings you cherish.  We love the schnoods.  Like I loved how he was looking out the window this morning like a little person.  Just as I love how, right now, he’s laying in my lap snuggling, looking back at me with those eyes with those deep deep feelings, and Riley is all curled up in Karen’s lap snuggling in close to her.  We love them.

We love them.

Creatures of Habit

A noise outside wakes me up.  It wakes Weston as well.  He moves slightly, growls toward the window, and then stands up.  I know I’m in trouble.  Outside the wind tosses the branches against each other.  It’s a nice sound.  I can’t go back to sleep, but want to.  Thinking I’ll have a better chance I get up and head to the bathroom, Weston decides he needs to get up as well.  Padding in toward the dog door I open it so he can go out.  We both do our business and it’s time to head back to bed.  He won’t get in unless I let him go first, so he jumps up and then I get in behind him.  It’s time to spoon.  Yes, yes, I know.

Weston loves to cuddle.  He is one of the most affectionate dogs I’ve ever seen.  I don’t know what it is, but he’s always been like this.  Maybe it’s because he came into our lives when he was younger than he should have been.  Maybe he has always been, since that first day, treated like our child.  Maybe it’s just that he’s so emotional.  Whatever the reason, he loves a good cuddle.  His two favorite cuddling positions are one, laying on his back while I cradle him and pet his belly as we sit in a recliner.  And two… morning snuggle time.  He loves to spoon.  This is hilarious, but true.

Weston is, after all, a little creature of habit, just like his sister.  He’s also a smart one.  A pain in the ass to be sure, but that’s a post for another time.  I’m usually on my side with my arm out.  He lays right up against me, over my arm, puts his head on the pillow, and then wants me to put my other hand on his back.  He also likes it if he’s so close that my head sort of lays on him and the pillow at the same time.  It’s so funny.  And yes, I sometimes cuddle him.  He gets a couple of minutes of this and sometimes longer if I actually fall asleep in this position.  It cracks me up.  He would like this to happen every day, which it doesn’t, but he’d very much like it if it did.

His little sister has her thing too…

We get ready for bed and all get in.  Each dog in their little dog beds on our bed.  We all sort of relax and just when it gets quiet and mellow, Riley decides she needs to get back up.  She stands up, one of us says to her, OK… go get a drink.  She jumps down, goes to the water bowl, drinks really loudly for a tiny 10 pound dog, jumps back up, and lays back down.  Every night, same routine.

Bedtime.  9:30 rolls around and they both get surly and disgusted if we don’t go to bed.  If we are in the media room Riley is in a dog bed on a chair and Weston is usually asleep on the couch or laying on me.  One of us gets up to get a drink or something and they both sit up, on alert, waiting for us to say the magic words… time for bed.  They will even jump down, start to head upstairs in the hope that it’s time.  We have to say to them… not yet.  Not quite yet.  Being the little creatures of habit that they are it’s tough for them to alter their course.

Ah well… the wind is still blowing out there now.  The sun is up and so are we.  I’m sitting on the couch in the living room typing away around Riley, who is laying on my lap.  Yes, it’s hard to type with a dog in ones lap.  Weston is laying next to me, pressed up against my leg.  It’s time for breakast though and they are starting to let me know.  Riley has just jumped up and gotten in my face.  Weston keeps nudging me.  OK, OK… I get the message.  Loud and clear.  Don’t want to mess with the routine…

Meet Alfie

I walked out into the backyard this afternoon to throw the ball a little for the boy.  He’s been restless today.  Sometimes he gets like that.  Usually chewing on a bully (which I gave him) or throwing the ball a couple of times in the house (which I did), or letting him sit on my lap and petting him (also did) work to assuage his anxiousness.  Not today.  He is sort of a high strung anxious little guy sometimes.  So outside I went, in my lounge pants (AKA pajama bottoms) that I’m still wearing.  Yes, the advantages of Karen and I working from home is the ability to stay dressed down for the day.  Until we have to go out in public that is, but that’s a topic for another day.  Back to Alfie… or more accurately, Weston.  I was kind of desperate to have him quit bugging me.  I love him, but having him come up to me and nudge my hand, or bark at me, or whatever over and over today was getting on my nerves.  So out into the backyard, in my lounge pants, I went.  I threw the ball for him a few times.  Riley also got in on the action a little… in all ways actually.  She chewed on the bully, tugged on her brown thing (formerly a stuffed monkey, now just the brown thing), chased Weston’s ball in the house, and got her own lap sitting complete with a pet or two.  She was also in on the outside ball throwing action.  We also just took them for a short walk around a couple of blocks… not in our lounge pants (Karen had to get out of the house and off the phone for 30 minutes… it’s a bad one today for her)… but again, I digress.  So while we were outside, the dogs and I that is, in the backyard (me in my lounge pants), I noticed Alfie.  He was laying near the back steps.  Poor guy.  I picked him up and found, for the third or fourth time since he’s been a part of the family, that he was soaking wet.  Weston, who has taken a particular shine to Alfie, carries him around sometimes.  Sometimes that means he carries Alfie outside.  And sometimes he gets distracted by a squirrel, drops Alfie, and forgets to bring him back in the house.  If we notice Alfie out there at night, which we have in the past when we take the pups out for their last constitution before bed, we tell Weston to get Alfie and bring him in, which he does.  Pretty cute actually.  I say… “Weston, go get Alfie.  Get him. Good boy!” and he does.  He will go get him.  But today, Alfie’s fate was not of the warm and dry kind.  He was soaking.  Forgotten yesterday by Weston outside and left to weather the storm on his own.  Poor Alfie.

After I saw Alfie I brought him in, of course, and propped him up on the kitchen counter to dry.  It’s his normal drying spot.  Seems to work.  Weston will miss him until Alfie re-joins the fold, but it has to be done.

And speaking of Weston missing him… this is interesting.  Weston has never really taken any particular interest in any one toy.  He loves chasing and catching the ball the most and will occasionally carry around the Mailman or the Hedgehog.  Both of which have stayed in tact, a sure sign he likes them as he hasn’t chewed the stuffing out of them.  But that’s about it… he will carry one around for awhile and then put it down, forgotten for quite a long time until the next time he picks one up and carries it around.  Alfie is different.  We picked up Alfie, and his co-hort Squiggy, when we stopped at Praireland Feeds (where we buy the pup’s food) on my birthday weekend as we headed out of town.  I noticed this little bin of stuffed things and thought the pups needed a little treat for the trip so I picked up a red and green one.  The naming of them happened after we got home from the weekend.  Weston took a particular liking to red, later named Alfie.  He started carrying him around everywhere.  He brought him to bed with him, something he’s never done with anything other than a bully stick before (which we don’t let him have in bed by the way), carried him outside when he went out to do his business, brought him downstairs to the media room when we went down to watch TV at night, and had him with him when he took his naps.  He has never done this and it’s kind of cute.  He and Alfie have become fast fast friends.  Squiggy gets a tad bit of attention, but he’s usually a meager substitute for Alfie when Alfie is out of commission, like he is today.

Weston will be happy when Alfie dries off and is dropped back on the floor.  I’m sure he and his little buddy will be stuck like glue again, until the next time he’s left outside and gets showered on.

Meet Alfie…

Falling For Illinois

It’s a rainy, windy, blustery, wet day here in Illinois.  It started yesterday, the blue sky fading as the clouds came in and the rain and wind started up.  It reminds me of an Oregon Fall.  Loads of rain, gray skies, everything just getting soaked.

It’s a cup of coffee read a book kind of day.  Though I just did the cup of coffee part.  Otherwise I was catching up on email and Facebook “stuff”.  Loving on the dogs… like I am right now, excuse me as I pet Weston for a moment… OK, back.

Tonight we head to the kids house with Black Dog Smoke and Ale House BBQ in hand.  No date night this week.  We are just back from our trip so the kids are going to stay home with us and we’re going to hang out.  We’re looking forward to it.

Had a great visit last evening with Karen’s aunt and uncle.  I’d never met them and it had been a long time since she’d seen them.  It’s a perk of living here.  They travel from their home in Minnesota to their son and daughter in law’s place in Atlanta twice a year.  We’re on the route.  It was so lovely to meet them and spend some time getting to know them a little.  I enjoyed their company.

OK… time to pet Weston again.  He’s being a tad needy, but I don’t mind… who can resist that look of love.  Not I, that’s for sure.  I love this little guy…. and his cutie little sister.

 

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Better Late Than Not At All

What follows are some shots, mostly taken by Karen, during our road trip east.  It was a tiring four days, but we got er done… as they say.  We were so lucky to have Mom and Sandy along to help out.  They were amazing and true champs!  People say this all the time, but in our case we totally mean it… we couldn’t have done it without them!  Thank you guys, you were wonderful traveling companions, and true champs of the road!  We love you!

Seven states, 2300 miles, three nights in hotels with four adults and two dogs, road food, great conversation, some beautiful scenery, more gas money into a big ol’ truck and a car than two girls ever want to pay for again, and no real issues… it was a tiring, but good trip east.

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Surrounded By Dogs

I am cracking up!

The schnoodles are laying next to and on me, sleeping and not sleeping.  They try to sleep, want attention for awhile, demand attention for a little longer, then go back to sleep again.  They both want to be touching me.  It’s cute… lovely…. warm… and sometimes, admittedly, sort of annoying.  But, then I look at them, in their little eyes, and the fleeting millisecond of annoyance turns right back to adoration and love.

Weston just got up and wandered off… maybe he “heard” me talking about him.  Or maybe just maybe he is getting restless before his Uncle Kevin comes home.  He LOVES his Uncle Kevin and always gets restless when it’s about that time… time for Kev to come on in.  Weston wanders, looks out the window, barks and runs out when he thinks it might be Uncle Kevin.  It’s cute.

Combine that with the fact that his Mamma is gone right now getting our house in Illinois, and he’s even more of a mess.  I’m sure he’s looking for her too.  Riley does that as well.  So do I for that matter.  We are all missing her.  Until she comes home it will be like this… the pups stuck to me, a bit restless, looking out the window, barking when they hear a noise that might be, is it, maybe….  Wanting pets, wanting love, wanting to make sure that if they are sleeping they are touching me somehow.  Riley is asleep next to me right now and has all four of her little paws up against my leg.  Adorable.

I am surrounded… by boxes, by stuff to pack, and by dogs…. beautiful little lovable dogs.

Boxes to Fill and It’s Raining Outside

I’m sitting here at the computer not doing what I’m supposed to be doing, but then… exactly what am I supposed to be doing? Packing. Yes, I should be packing. Books into tubs to take, kitchen glasses, plates, etc. Those are my tasks. I need to get to them. Yet, I blog, I surf, I go into the ol’ flickr account and organize photos. I’m avoiding the packing. Five weeks to go. Five weeks on Thursday. Not many weekends left until the big Uhaul leaves the town of Scappoose and heads east toward our new home in Urbana, IL.

I’m excited for the future… for the change, the adventure, the new life moments created with our grandson and the kids, the pups, and each other. I’m very excited about all of that. I’m excited about living in and decorating a new house, about planting new flowers, about riding our bikes and walking around a new town. I’m excited for the friends we will make and the times we will have.

It’s just that I don’t want to pack… not right now. Not right now I don’t. It’s raining outside and dreary on this not so sunny Oregon summer day. The dogs are asleep on their beds here in the office. My honey is working away… hard and with purpose. In command of her job and what she does so well. I’m listening to her type and talk on the phone and be in charge. It’s impressive. Weston snores occasionally and the little girlie changes positions every now and then. They look up at us hopefully every so often thinking maybe if I look at you and then at my ball and then at you again I will get you to play with me. Will you? I say to them… later babies. I promise. And we will.

It’s a Tuesday…

For The Love of Dogs

I was sitting here this morning doing my usual routine… drink some tea, have a bagel, check my email, Facebook, Google Reader… and I heard it.  The tell tale sound of Weston opening the closet door and rummaging through the shred box.  By the time I responded, which was actually pretty quickly, with my usual…. Weston, NO, get out of there, he had a piece of paper and was making for the hills.  Or in his case, more accurately, I should say his chair.  He looked up at me and then, miraculously, dropped the paper. Riley, our little girlie, just stayed in her bed the whole time looking at both of us like we were lame idiots.  She doesn’t play those games.

It made me think about them… our little lovelies.  They are so different, in almost every way save one, they sort of look alike.  And even that likeness has diminished as Riley aged and became more silver than dark gray.  They are beauties.  But then… we love them. And love might not even be a strong enough word for it…. but it’s all I’ve got.

Weston…  He is the oldest, so he gets first billing.  He’s our poet.  Our feeling gent.  He is ruled by emotion, no matter what kind, and acts on it purposefully and sometimes impulsively… or compulsively.  He loves people and wants attention and love constantly.  Always looking at you with those deep feeling eyes full of soul and pawing or nosing for a quick pet.  He’s a bit of a two personality guy… taken away from his mother at too young an age (not our choice but the breeder’s, who was wanting to get out of the puppy business and did it too soon) he suffers from not enough discipline when he was young.  We tried, but we weren’t his mamma and though he is ultra smart (sometimes the bane of our existence) he is equally as stubborn.  He will look at you, know he’s being told no, and still do whatever it is he’s doing.  Which mostly consists of being a thief of the highest caliber.  We’ve tried every form of discipline we’ve researched and though he responds best to being ignored for a time (he loves us you see and doesn’t like to be left out), he still won’t give in.  Stubborn.  A stubborn, very very smart thief.  He’s magic at it.  He can get things off countertops… standing on his little hind legs, using his paw to reach up over where he can’t really see that well, pull something over to the edge, then grab it with his teeth.  He opens closets doors, drawers, tips over trash cans, and jumps up in any chair that’s left out.  It’s hilarious… and sometimes aggravating.  We don’t really care.  In the moment you get mad at him, but then you think about all the cunning and planning and skill and you have to laugh.  His best, yet worst, thieving experience was when he opened a pocked in a backpack that was fully zipped closed, got out a bag of chocolate, and ate it all.  This is always what we worry about the most… that he will thieve something bad for him.  He tends to eat what he steals so you can’t get it from him.  He’s swallowed ear plugs, numerous kleenex, napkins, food of all kinds, q-tips… the list goes on.  The chocolate was the worst.  We called the vet and had to pour (to his great displeasure) some hydrogen peroxide down him to get him to throw it all up.  We did… and he did… all over the bathroom floor.  Yuck… but we were happy because he was safe.  He’s incorrigible.  And his feelings run deep.  He looks at you, as he’s flipping over onto his back and opening up his legs to get a good pet, with eyes that speak volumes.  Not all dogs are like this… but he is.  He’s the most feeling dog I’ve ever seen.  It’s amazing, the soul that pours from his eyes to yours.  Very expressive.  Very sweet.  Very deep and full of love.  He’s our boy.  Our little mister.  Our Woodsy (as Karen calls him).

Riley… our little girl.  She is a spitfire.  Confident in every way save one.  She’s afraid of the oven.  It’s true.  The minute the oven goes on, she makes haste to the family room and the back of the sectional that’s furthest from the door up to the kitchen.  She hates the oven.  We know it’s because it used to (before we unplugged this particular one) set off the smoke alarm.  We have another nearby that isn’t as sensitive and has stayed plugged in…. have to be safe and all.  When the oven door used to be opened, no matter what we were cooking in there, it set off this particular smoke detector… and the girlie hated it.  That isn’t a strong enough word.  Her ears are very sensitive…. we think it’s because her vision isn’t good.  So even now, with the detector not going off every time, when the oven gets turned on she makes for the other room.  She’s smart too… knows what that oven going on could mean.  And she doesn’t like it.  It’s cute and sad at the same time as she lays out there, a tiny ball, quivering.  It’s the only time she seems afraid.  Otherwise she’s a little ball of confidence, all ten pounds of her.  She knows who she is and owns her space.  Her little strut, and I will call it a strut, is so cute.  Head held high, barking occasionally at anyone or anything she feels like, jumping up to put her front paws over her brother’s back to show she’s in charge.  Confident.  She’s sometimes loud, barking crazy-like whenever we get home, or someone comes over, or she thinks she hears someone outside.  But it’s her… loud, confident, and so very cute.  She’s chalk full of personality… playing like a cat likes to play, spinning around, hardly able to contain all the energy inside her little body.  Yes, she sometimes tries to jump up (and she’s a fantastic jumper… so high for the size of her little self) up onto the couch or a chair and misses… her eyes again, not working as well as they should for depth… but she doesn’t let it stop her.  Bouncing off the furniture only to immediately jump up again.  She has moxy.  She’s full of it.  If only the rest of us could have half the confidence she possesses in her little self… fantastic.

And that’s them… our little cuties.  So many nicknames… the boy, the girlie, riles, ri-ri, girlie cutie, wooser, woodsie, westenheimer, riley-roosey… it goes on and on.  Whatever we happen to call them they are a big part of the joy in our lives.  We love our little schnoodles.  We also spoil the crap out of them… they eat great for them food, which we mix up, they have special beds all over the place, we buy them bones and bullies and toys, we take them for walks when it’s sunny (they hate the rain), we built up a really nice dog run/area at the back of our house including their own little door for going in and out with a gate we lock when we leave so that no one can accidentally let them out, we play ball (for Weston) and tug (for Riley) in the house when we can’t take them out for walks, and we love on them… all the time.  It’s all so worth it because they are precious… they love us and bring us immense delight.

How could you not love these faces?

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Pictures of Early Us

These are photos I used on my blog between 2005 and 2007.  I blogged with Blogger for that time… until I switched to WordPress, where I’ve stayed.  I was just perusing these and enjoying them.  Thought I’d share.  Some of these were before I had the Canon Rebel even.  We were using point and shoot little digital cameras then.  Plus there are photos of Weston when we first got him… what a cutie.  Enjoy….

Tam’s Think Tank

Stopping For Bullies

On our way home from a family dinner at Mom and Don’s place. Stopped at the pet store on the way home for bully sticks for the pups. They love them.

Dinner was so good. Got to see family I haven’t seen in a long long time. Nice! Nothing like being in a room with a bunch of people I love and who love me. It’s what life is about.

Had my appointment with Dr. Bigler yesterday. I start maintenance this coming Wednesday. My numbers are holding steady. Not all quite in the normal range yet, but good enough. I do have to have another bone marrow biopsy… It’s looking like maybe November 3 for that. Then it’s just two years of the maintenance cycle and I will be done with the meds. Maintenance involves a weekly shot, a daily pill (or maybe two… We don’t know yet how much as they have to do a formula for it) and 15 days of ATRA every three months). I should be able to get into a pretty normal routine and back to a pretty normal life. Next Wednesday….. Here we go…..

Now, home to the pups with bullies. They will be so happy.

Wednesday…

We took a little ride today.  Errands and such.  Had to go get dog food, bully sticks, and deposit a rent check. Very glamorous, but nice.  It was nice to ride over with my honey, chat, get a tea, chat some more.  Lovely really.

Now we’re back home, my honey is working, I’m watching Point Break, and Weston is asleep next to me on the sofa.  I think he’s drunk on bully stick.  He chewed on one for a bit and then it was nap time.

Tuesday Morning… Well, Not Really. It Was Earlier Today Though

Now that is a long title for a post.  Just had to use it… The Pogues Tuesday Morning is playing right now.  It’s not that fortuitous, I actually looked up songs with Tuesday in the title and liked this one.  That’s what a person does when they have some time on their hands, which I happen to.  I’m amazed at myself for all the things I’m looking up now.  Knowledge is power they say, if, and that a big IF, I can remember anything I’ve already looked up.  Chances are not high it will all stay up there in the old noggin.  Or, more precisely, that I will be able to access what is up there.  A lovely side effect of all of this is an even worse memory than I had.  LOL  Ah well… I remember the important things… like the people I love.  So it’s OK.  Besides, my memory will improve again after.

Today has been a mellow day.  My honey has gotten a lot of business done, both professionally and personally for us.  She and Kev are, right now, at one of our rentals looking at the dryer.  Seems it quit working and since we put it in there we are responsible for it.  If Kev can fix it, great… if not, we buy a new (actually a used) one.  Not too terrible.  I’m here, hanging with the dogs.  They are actually sitting in the living room on the chair looking out the window longingly waiting for Karen and Kev’s return.

Day 9

Sunday, day 9.  It’s been a similar day to yesterday… decent morning, slightly rocky afternoon… but not bad.  My honey went to the store today, cleaned the house, and has been outside washing cars and cleaning and weeding and playing in the shop.  She is a busy girl, and amazing.  The little girlie is out with her, the boy is laying next to me on the couch chewing on an old bully stick Karen found in the car under the seat.  He is a happy little man.

It’s beautiful out there again today…. a little hot (I was just outside for a couple of minutes) and a tad humid, though that could just be me and my bald head in the sun.  I wasn’t out for that long.  Now I’m here again, on the sectional in the family room, watching the third in the Librarian series on TNT.  These movies are so corny and not that good, but that sort of makes them good.  I can’t seem to stop watching them.

Tomorrow Karen is busy busy in the morning… she is still getting emails today about that work situation yesterday… and then, in the afternoon, we are going in for my first blood draw of this series.  We will see what my numbers are.  I think they are down, but I don’t feel that tired, so maybe not really.  It will be interesting to see what happens between tomorrow and Thursday, when I go in again.  Back to the bi-weekly blood draws.

Nothing much else going on here.  Kev is still camping, but coming back some time today.  I think I have another week of ATRA.  Will be nice to get a couple of weeks off from taking it when I get that chance.    I have a nice fan blowing on me right now. Seems my thought has become somewhat freeform, which probably means it’s time to wrap up this entry.

Saturday And The Livin’ Is… Slightly Queasy

So here we are, day 8 from the first day of this last chemo round.  All in all I’m not feeling too bad.  Woke up well, but have felt a tad queasy since lunch.  Took the temp and it’s all good, no temperature, and that’s the biggie.

Karen ended up having to work today for awhile.  Got a call from her boss asking her if she and some of her team could rectify a huge issue in another department.  Not even Karen’s department, but they fixed the problem.  Once again, she steps in and gets it done.  That’s my girl.  Pretty amazing.

Right now she and pups are on their way to the vet to get some more heart worm med for the dogs.  They went along to get a little adventure.  She’s going to score a chai while she’s gone.  She deserves one.  As for me, I’m sitting here drinking green tea and watching HGTV.  It’s not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon.  :-)  Later, a much needed bath….  LOL  I’m finally done sweating out the poison.  Not longer the toxic avenger this time around.  Sheets washed, Weston can once again sleep with his mamma, and Karen can once again, sleep in the same room as me with the dogs. Back on her air mattress.  Yes, she’s been sleeping on an air mattress on the floor next to the bed since I came home on July 1.  Safer for her when I’m sweating it all out, better rest right now for both of us.  It’s not ideal, at all, but it works.  She is so amazing.  That girl knows how to love and take care of me.

Friday

It’s Friday.  What else?  It’s the 9th of July… so big happy birthdays have to go out to two of my favorite guys…  Arnold and Eric.  Happy birthday gents…  you are spectacular men and I love you both.  What else does it being the 9th mean?  It’s the 9th… Karen and my 7 year and 3 month anniversary.  LOL  We used to celebrate every month… in the beginning.  Now we just smile and say happy anniversary.  So, happy anniversary honey… it’s been a magical 7 years and 3 months and I know every month and year that’s ahead of us will be just as magical.  I love you.

Otherwise… I’m hanging out in our coolish family room, Weston is curled up asleep next to me, Karen is working away in the office and the little girlie is curled up asleep in there with her, and I’m watching a continuously changing strange array of television shows.  There are no appointments today, meaning we don’t have to go anywhere if we don’t want to today.  Kind of nice.  I’ve had breakfast, my morning oral chemo with it, and my morning tea.

A nice mellow day so far…. life is good.

After A Walk

After A Walk, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

Had to post this little number. Karen and I took a walk, with the pups, around the Belmont neighborhood last weekend. It was gorgeous out and gorgeous weather always calls for a walk. The dogs, of course, love it when we go on a walkabout. They were a bit thirsty, as you would expect, by the time we got back to the car. Riley is in the red collar, and Weston is behind her.

Pups

Pups, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

The pups love camping. Weston is on his lead here, but he got to be off of it. They both did. They were worn out by the time we got home. Two hikes in one day just about did the little souls in. They made it though, and actually wanted to go to bed that night. Pretty funny.

Getting a Drink

Getting a Drink, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

We went into Sisters one day for a couple of hours while we were over camping. It was a bit warm. Weston, who never drinks out of “other” bowls, drank. It was a first.

This particular shot was taken outside a great gallery in Sisters. We love this place and in fact have purchased stuff there in the past. Sisters is a cool little town, though now it’s a bit touristy. But who cares, it’s fun none the less.