Thursday, September 5, 2013

End of Summer Vacation

We spent last week in Estes Park, Colorado, which is the home of Rocky Mountain National Park.  It's scenic, so not much to say and will let my pictures do the talking.

There was a double full rainbow but it was raining too hard to stand outside and take the photo of the whole thing.

Annie walked around with a pine cone in her mouth, looking like an idiot.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Is it possible to be too cute?

Well, the summer is fleeting, and, for me, it has definitely been the Summer of Annie. Not much else has been accomplished as our puppy settles into our family.  There is much to do on a daily basis to care for a puppy - 3 meals a day, a couple of walks, some training, some playing, some holding chew toys to stem the chewiness of teething, taking her to the vet, groomer, puppy school, etc.  But she is so worth it.  Her puppy exuberance is delightful, and she is a big, big presence in our lives.

Since we live downtown, we must walk her where there are sometimes a lot of people. When she was smaller (she's now 4 months old and about 12 pounds), we couldn't go more than about two steps without someone stopping us to ask if they could pet our puppy or to tell us (and Annie) how adorable she was.  It was so common that when Annie heard the words "so cute", she actually answered to them by greeting the person who uttered them.  She was so used to being stopped that, if someone walked by without acknowledging her, she would turn around and look at them as if to say "didn't you see how cute I am?"

It actually got tiresome to make so little progress as we were walking.  By the time the twentieth person (and I'm not exaggerating) asked to pet her or what kind of dog she was, I wanted to brush them off but couldn't be that rude.  It made me understand what it must be like to be a celebrity who is constantly barraged by fans seeking a photo or an autograph.  So it made me wonder if there is actually such a thing as being too cute.

Now that Annie is getting older, she isn't stopped quite as much, although we still get a lot of comments as we walk by folks.  I wonder if she is disappointed in the drop in interest.  It also made me think about what it must be like to be a person who is terrifically good looking and how it must feel to be this person as he or she ages.  I personally wouldn't know what this experience is like but for those who trade on their good looks in the early part of their lives, getting older and less attractive must be truly devastating.  Perhaps they, like Annie, think that they were just "too cute" in their good years.

For the first two months we had Annie, all that was required of her was (1) that she look cute and (2) that she pee and poop in the right place.  But now that she's maturing, she is expected to follow commands and actually behave like a good dog.  What a bummer for her but she is slowly accepting that her cuteness will only get her so far now.  I wouldn't say that she is a star pupil in puppy school, but she is coming along.  

All in all, we are happy to have this cuteness in our lives and apologize for boring the non-dog loving readers.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Puppies and Other Memories

Annie and her Porch Potty

As I write this, I have a pile of puppy in my lap.  It's amazing how a 6 or 7 pound puff of fur can be so life changing.  Annie has been in our home for 19 days now and has turned life as we knew it (calm and quiet) upside down.

We realized some changes would be required in getting a puppy.  After all, it's been 5 years since we had a canine in our lives and 18 years since we had a puppy.  We still and will always miss our wonderful beagle Zoe.  Even after she's been gone for 5 years, it's just as likely that when we call for this new puppy, we will say Zoe instead of Annie.  I'm afraid that Annie will actually think that her name is "Zannie" because we so often start with a "z" before realizing our mistake.

Having a new puppy has made me think more about Zoe, but it's odd that when I think of her, it is always as an older, overweight and cranky dog, not as a dog in her prime of life.  She wasn't nearly as lovable in her last years, yet I loved her so much.  When we would come home, there was no excited greeting like there used to be.  Instead, she would merely look up and give us the equivalent look of "oh, it's just you" and resume snoozing.  So I find it strange that I don't have a clear memory of what she was like when she captured my heart.  Sure, there are photos, and I especially cherish the ones of her as an adorable puppy with her big flapping beagle ears and too small body.  But a lot of the years with her are now just a blur to me.

Unfortunately, the same is true for humans as well.  My mental image of my father, who died about 10 years ago, is him as old and frail as he was in his last years, not as the robust man he was as I was growing up.  I'm not sure why these are the images that come to mind, but I'm hoping to change this cycle, starting now.

Emily, Chew Toy, and Annie

So I'm trying right now to savor the puppy moments - both the good and the bad - in the hope that they will be emblazoned in my mind.  The times when she's just a puddle of puppy in my lap, so limp and relaxed that she's like a dish rag.  The cute little pink tongue that can't wait to lick my face or licks off the water from my feet and legs when I get out of the shower.  The rascal times when she goes back to chew on the very same thing that she was just scolded for chewing.  The sitting for what seems like hours holding a chew toy for her.  The racing around the room at break-neck speeds for no particular reason, climaxing with a flying leap into her bed.  The praise that we give her when she goes potty in the right spot that compares to the accolades she might get for discovering relativity.  And the manic victory lap she does after this effusive praise.  I hope to take this all in and remember.

This is part of a constant effort to be more in the moment, to enjoy now and to keep these memories with me.  I hope I can achieve this, but it's questionable as the puppy is so darn exhausting that there are times when I wonder if I'll even remember my own name when this puppy period is over.

Aaahhh - some needed rest for Mommy

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Denver Chalk Art Festival 3.0

I've done a blog post of this event since we've been in Denver so here it is again.  I always look forward to this because it is colorful, artistic and yet so very temporary that I can't go and not take pictures.  We went early in the morning so the drawings are not in a completed state and some of the shadows were challenging.  Here are some of the 2013 entries:  

You can see the building where we live in the upper right corner

Monday, May 27, 2013

Meet Annie

Annie, 9 weeks old

Annie, an Australian Labradoodle, came home this weekend.  She is bouncy, fun and puppy-like, but also a lot of work.  I will have to be indulged as you may see more photos of Annie than you want, but cute puppy-moments abound.  Please feel free to ignore them.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Utah . . . Wow!

We took a road trip to southern Utah and all I can say is Wow!  I had no idea how very beautiful and different looking this place is.  It looks like every Western that I ever saw as a kid and, in fact, many of those movies and television shows were filmed in this area.

We went to a number of state and national parks, including Arches, Capitol Reef, Bryce and Zion.  My personal favorite was Bryce, which looked like something from another planet.  The photos can't begin to do this place justice.  If you haven't ever been to this part of the world, try to get there - it's so unique.  Even the drive on Interstate 70 was amazingly beautiful.

OK - this is just to see if you were paying attention.  This is our puppy - coming home this weekend.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Beyond Ridiculous

May 1, 2013

The calendar says May 1 but the weather says January.  Help!!

May 1, 2013

Sunday, April 28, 2013


With excitement and some trepidation, we are going to welcome a new puppy into our family at the end of May.  She is an Australian Labradoodle so she will be a medium sized dog when she is full grown.  Right now she is a cute little puppy as can be seen by her 5 week photos.  Her "puppy name" is Olga, as the local breeders named all of the five puppies in the litter Viking names.  After you have a look at her, name suggestions are encouraged.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

This Is Ridiculous

April 23, 2013.  This is our fourth snowstorm in two weeks in Denver.  No spring at all - just winter.

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Caliber Collection

I have a new bracelet that I purchased from The Caliber Collection.  It's made from steel from weapons melted down as a result of a gun buy back program in Newark, New Jersey.  Part of the proceeds from the purchase is used to fund future buy back programs.  I love this idea, and I love the bracelet.  The number on it represents the serial number of one of the weapons used in the melt down. 

Friday, January 25, 2013


We returned on Sunday from our first Caribbean cruise.   While the cruise was very relaxing and we came back totally refreshed, it was weird in so many ways that I want to share a bit of the experience for those who have never done anything like this.

First,  the positives of the vacation. We had a great time with perfect weather, especially considering that it was 10°F when we left Denver.  It was wonderful being at sea for a whole week as we were virtually unplugged except for brief email checks. Our stateroom was spacious and very comfortable with our own private balcony.

Now, for the more interesting stuff.  Our cruise was on the Ruby Princess - a great big floating city that houses over 3,000 passengers and 1,150 crew from 43 different countries.   Somehow, when I was making reservations for this trip, I didn't pay attention to the size of the boat but instead concentrated on when and where it was going.  So it was quite stunning upon arrival to digest the scope of the ship.  There were 17 decks, and we figured out that the ship was about as long as five city blocks.  Initially, this was off-putting but we realized that we would be on this vessel for a week so somehow had to come to terms with the enormity.  And we did.  While I don't think that I will ever take another trip on such a big boat again, it was interesting and entertaining to observe.  With so many people all around us, there was no pressure to talk to anyone and we could be as anti-social as we wanted to be (which resulted in exactly zero conversations with other passengers).  There is great anonymity in numbers, which actually made the experience more relaxing.

It was a challenge to find quiet and restful spots on a ship with so many people, but we were up to the task.  We found the Sanctuary, which, as its name suggests, was peaceful and populated by crew called Serenity Stewards who were available to meet your every need.  For the privilege of quiet, we had to pay what the cruise line called "a nominal fee" and what I call twenty bucks for half a day.  Even though it seems odd to pay for quiet, it was well worth it, particularly when we would walk by the always crowded pool areas where some awful, depressing and very loud band was always playing.  Not to mention the throngs of people by the pool, many of whom should never - and I repeat NEVER - put on a bathing suit.

For reasons that escape me, we had two television sets in our stateroom that were literally about six inches from each other - one faced our bed and one faced our sofa.  There were only a handful of channels with one of them being a station that played old Love Boat reruns almost 24-7 (now if that doesn't sound like hell, then what does?).  I never realized when I watched Love Boat decades ago that it was a Princess line ship, but the cruise line still seems very proud of that fact as evidenced by their constant showing of this very dated show.  Of course, the big difference between then and now is that the Love Boat Princess ship carried 600 passengers and the Ruby Princess was about five times as large.

Here are some photos with some commentary that will hopefully give you a little bit of a flavor of the trip:

The Vegas-like decor of the Ruby Princess

More gaudy decor

Ruby Princess Exterior

Why we sought out the Sanctuary

View of beautiful St. Martin from Fort Louis

I took a picture of the beautiful turquoise water in St. Martin, only to realize that Nude Guy was quite delighted to pose for my photo at the edge of the nude beach while facing the regular beach.  Quite a surprise.