Archive for the ‘dogs’ Category

It’s popping up everywhere around here — evidence of sunshine and long days and lazy, happy afternoons.

It’s appearing in the form of swimming pools catching afternoon warmth on the front stones…

(And I don’t think this is actually a spot for beer bottles, but it does seem like this pool was kinda made with Mama in mind, too, no?)

…and dogs spread out in the sunshine, imagining they’re best friends so long as the deck is hot

…and pink swings hanging from the bottom deck, catching the afternoon shade that the pool is ignoring.

Even our meals are embracing summer, as tomatoes from the top deck find their way into roasted eggplant and lamb and mint meatballs.

(Kid LOVES lamb meatballs.)

Last summer was incredibly special — I was pregnant, and we were counting down the weeks before Nellie’s arrival.  This summer, magically, means even more.  It hasn’t officially begun, and already it’s spreading its warm charm around our house.


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June bug

In California, we have june bugs–metallic green scarab beetles that emerge every summer and feast on fresh fruit.  Blissfully, in Maryland, we have no such thing.  But we do have Nellie–a messy little monkey who goes through just about as much fruit as the beetles.

It’s June, and the sun has responded with a nod to summer this weekend.  The weather on Saturday was perfect for the annual lab rescue dog walk.  Lucy was in her element, and Nellie breathed in the fresh air and the sea air and slept for the entire walk (but thoroughly enjoyed hanging out beforehand, and eating out afterwards).

We arrived early, as we always do, and set up camp under one of the tents that was vendorless at the time.  To our delight, that particular vendor never showed, so we had a private cabana on the park.  It was a lucky thing, too; while G, Nellie, and I were happy to sit in the sunshine and enjoy things like goldfish crackers and fruits, Lucy tugged her leash just long enough to find a spot in the shade.

G and I took the afternoon off and let Nellie dogsit, which was nice.

Lucy, as per usual, liked the pool portion of the walk way better than the walk portion of the walk. You’d expect all the labs would jump into the water, but no–just Lucy.  She claimed the pink pool.  She subsequently claimed the blue pool.

I’m not sure whether it was the walk, the swim, or just being an only dog for the day, but Lucy was one happy pup.

Nellie was…still asleep in her stroller.

We spent some time by the water before finding a spot for lunch (that accommodated babies and dogs–not an easy feat!).

Lucy approved of the day. And then she rode home in the front seat of trucky, ready to brag to the other two.

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I realize, of course, that there has been a lot of mention recently of snakes.  Twice in one week, in fact–one at each place.  And while I realize that our list of house guests is rapidly dwindling at the prospect of rat snakes in their room, I want to emphasize that this is not normal. In fact, the snake at the cabin–the itty, bitty snake we saw in the grass that lived outside our door–was the first snake we’ve seen up there.  Until our most recent trip, we had seen more bears roaming around the trash bins than we had seen snakes slithering through the rocks.  (That record is now tied, 1-1, though I know those bears are out there–my poor, destroyed trash cans speak to that loud and clear.)

But while you shouldn’t expect a snake encounter at the cabin necessarily, well, I’m sorry to say that we’ve had our share at the house.  The worst was the copperhead that bit Lucy square on the nose.  After ensuring it would not bite any of our other dogs, G brought up to me while I was cooking dinner just to confirm it was, in fact, copper.

Our screened porch has seen the most snakes.  The first was coiled in a massive loop around a plant that was just inches from me–I also happened to be home alone at the time.  I ran out screaming, as is usually the case when I see snakes, it seems, and we never found it again.  That episode is also subtitled, “The Time We Discovered that the Garage and the Screened Porch are Connected.”  Or, “The Snake is Now in our Garage.” 

The most recent episode of snakedom in the screened porch came about a year ago while I was cooking dinner and G was entertaining the dogs on the deck.  He spotted the copperhead slithering about near the door between the kitchen and porch, rushed in, and grabbed the knife with which I was doing dinner prep and took care of the snake.  My very best knife.  Really??

But the funniest episode — well, funniest to me, anyway — was our first snake episode at the house.  It is also the loudest I have ever heard G scream.  G was on the side patio raking up nature’s debris when he pushed the rake into the opening where we keep the hot tub hose and wires coiled up… and he pulled out a very, very, very angry snake.

That snake–a 7 foot, ginormous black rat snake–remains the largest snake I have EVER seen in real life that was not accompanied by a man in khakis on Snake Day at school.  That giant snake danced with G–one hissing, one screaming.  G eventually won, but they went many rounds.  When G finally got the snake on a garden tool, he flung the snake into the woods in one triumphant victory hurl.  And there, about a foot off our porch, it got caught in a tree.  A 7 foot, angry-as-all-hell snake, dangling a couple feet from our hot tub.

It’s been five years since that incident, and I am pretty sure G still approaches that space beside our hot tub with a 20 foot pole.  At the time, of course, it was TOTALLY NOT HILARIOUS.  But in hindsight–in my hindsight anyway–it was pretty damn funny.

Have I officially taken care of all future visitors to our house at this point?  No more snake stories today.  Instead, I will post the second half of my pictures of Nellie playing with Lucy.  Who doesn’t follow up stories about snakes with pictures of babies and puppies?  Tag this one adorable.

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Nellie and Lucy

Nellie has a different relationship with each dog.  Sally, possibly, loves her the very most, but Sally is (just as Sally always is) a little too pushy for Nellie.  Sally likes to kiss Nellie repeatedly (and why not? she usually tastes like yogurt), and she is usually so in-Nellie’s-face about the love, that Nellie has grown accustomed to pushing her away.

Linus, on the opposite end of the spectrum, doesn’t really know what to make of Nellie.  Even after nine months, I think he’s wondering whether we might return her to some store.  (He would probably like Sally to be returned also.)  He and Nellie mostly exist side by side, competing for my attention, and patiently putting up with one another.  Sometimes Nellie tries to pet him and he moves away.  He’s not ready for little hands grabbing his hair just yet.

And in the middle is Lucy.  Nellie has a love affair for sweet, patient, lazy Lucy.  Lucy who closes her eyes and lets Nellie climb on her, pull her ears, tug at her chub, and fold her face into funny expressions.  Nellie has taken to making a beeline crawl to Lucy whenever she spots her in the room.  She loves this squishy dog.


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G is going to take some lovely pics of the bathroom remodel, so those aren’t included here, but here are a few other things that have recently popped up around our house.

Much-needed new dog beds.  Lucy isn’t giving hers up.  Clearly, the other two don’t get it.

(Did you catch the edge of our sweet, ‘new’ country table in that last pic? It’s the perfect table for our empty spot.)

A new hodge podge dresser that was short enough to let me keep my wonderful bookshelf that G made from reclaimed barn wood.

A new red nightstand with my books queued up.  I’m reading The Tehran Initiative right now. Watergate is my newest, rounding out the stack.

It’s not the best week ever for the J’s or the K’s, so we’re thinking lots of happy thoughts and sending them to Florida and California today!

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Popping Up

Our household is in teething hell right now. Apparently some babies don’t even notice new teeth.  Really?  We’re not eating, sleeping, or smiling in these parts, and those faint white dots tell me that we have a ways to go before this is over.  Nellie is a snotty, sniffly, coughy mess as a result of all of this, and I’m pretty sure her body temperature has permanently shifted to 99.1.  Her biggest smile comes out for a dose of grape Tylenol, and between the hours of 10pm and 4am she goes by the name Angry Baby.  Right now she’s in her exersaucer delighting herself with a new toy and pretending to be her old self.  But we’ve got our eyes on the clock.  We know what’s coming.

We’re trying all the remedies — cold washcloths, cold teethers, and apparently anything else that has a chill to it.  Fact is that she, like Sally, only enjoys putting things in her mouth that don’t belong.  Paper, her baby iPod, and the soapy washcloths from her bathtub are all ‘go’.  Everything designed to ease the pain in her gums is not even worth holding on to, and the pups have had their fair share of dropped goods over the past few days.

Speaking of pups, it’s possible I let Linus leave via the garage the other day while I was on a conference call.  He was gone for more than 20 minutes (though he hung out next door, so not exactly the same wild times he used to have in his youth).  He came back as soon as G turned on the El to go get him, and that dog had a grin for the rest of the night.  Then I dropped a bag of baby carrots I was going to steam for Nellie, and Lucy and Sally cleaned up the mess.  So despite the disastrous state of being hovering over our household, the dogs are having quite a good week.

I was able to keep some carrots in the bag, so Nellie still had ‘dinner’ with us at the table.  She was interested in the carrots and even took a couple nibbles, but she mostly enjoyed shoving them around or flinging them overboard, which is pretty much par for the course this week.

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More oatmeal? Nellie says, “Bring it.”

Lucy’s pumped, too.

And so it begins.

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