Saturday, April 29, 2006

Sweet Sounds of Slumber

Kharma sleeps through the night! She goes down without a whimper even and doesn't get me up until morning. I think she is wonderful. She still hasn't had an accident, she is learning her name, she does great on car rides, and she is growing cute cinnamon-colored eyelashes.

I honestly think she is bigger today than two days ago. Her paws have definitely grown some and her legs are longer.

I'm not sure exactly what she does all night, but I know it isn't all sleeping. (She sleeps in the laundry room/downstairs bathroom.) Yesterday, I found a towel and magazine soaking in the toilet. Today the soap on the counter was knocked over into the sink. And handtowels move around the room.

The important thing is, I get my sleep! (But I plan to remove everything from every surface possible tomorrow. Come to think of it, I may even figure out a way to close the cupboards before she decides to look inside and play with the contents!)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Currently Blooming

  • The first tulips have opened.
  • We've had just enough warm weather for the cherry tree (fruit, not flowering) to burst into creamy white which always reminds me of Anne of Green Gables.
  • The hyacinths which didn't do much last year, are striking this year in purple, white, blue and pink.
  • The creeping phlox is spreading pink joyousness which I will probably remember when I begin wanting to get rid of the prickly little rascals later in summer.
  • The daffodils are on their way out, but still give us sunshiny dreams.
  • Ditto most of the peach blossoms, but we have hope that the lower branches will flower momentarily while we have weather that is actually above 70(!!!) degrees. We are hoping the bees notice and drop by for a little pollenizing 'cause I just love a totally ripe peach warm from the branch.
  • The volunteer violas are blooming through the bricks. One had the honor of being the first flower destroyed by Kharma.
  • The dandelions have apparently been informed that there will be NO herbicides applied in the backyard due to a new puppy and have reacted accordingly. Said puppy has begun to imitate her mommy and is industriously pawing at them and biting off their little golden heads. Good dog!

Name Game

Yes, she has a name.

I made a list; he made a list. We kept adding to the list and the list got longer and longer. I called her by various names each time I took her out to do her business, just to see what they sounded like in real life. The poor pup knew what "Do your business!" meant, but had no idea what her name was.

I began crossing off names. His list stayed the same. I would say things like, "She needs a name before you leave again." and "How can I tell her not to chew up the bentwood rocker if I don't know her name?" Right before he left, he told me his list was on the computer. And here I thought the name list was the lined tablet on the kitchen table. I told him to print it out (this was when I was velcroed to the pup and hard copy was preferable to a computer screen that was upstairs when her bed was downstairs, not to mention the lawn where the real business was done). He was walking out the door and asking if I'd seen the list. Right about then, being a single parent with a pup who didn't sleep through the night was high on my list of worries for the next ten days, NOT a cyberlist.

But I did finally look and I did print it out. I found some good possibilities and circled all my favorites. I even circled the good ones that started with a T, although I knew I'd never live it down if we picked one after our other dogs both had T names. I anxiously awaited his call. When it finally came, he was more interested in settling in since it was late and his flight was delayed over 2 hours, his car reservation went belly up and his non-smoking hotel room was stinky. Phooey!

I looked at his list again. People kept asking me what her name was. I finally began telling everyone that I was calling her Good Dog and my sweetie was calling her No. At least if I couldn't come up with her name, I could get a laugh. His nightly call came, I told him my favorites from his list. We batted them around, eliminated two, talked about them some more, and finally made a decision. One of the names on his list really had surprised me when I read it. It was not one I had thought of, but I had been using it. Remember way back last week when I posted the story of how we finally found the perfect puppy? Well, the title I used was one of the names on his list. The other names were good, but the coincidence was too much to ignore.

Now we can say we really do have good Kharma at our house!

p.s. I have been getting a full night's worth of sleep for the past three nights. Yes, I do get up with her around two or three and spend some time with her under the incense cedar where it's dry and very pee-able, but she settles down quickly and sleeps well. I love my pup.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Challenge 1:The mutt is still as cute as ever and is in danger of becoming the most photographed dog since Lassie. However, since I call her Good Dog and my sweetie calls her No, she still needs a real name. The list is long and we are high-grading to find the best possibilities.

Challenge 2: It's like being a new parent again. I finally got a shower and my hair washed yesterday (only because Daddy was puppy-sitting). And there's no sleep yet. We've tried the gentle reassurances and the stern warnings. Tonight may be earplugs, closed doors and total ignoring of whining. And we sleep like new parents--one ear open for noises from the nursery. And when she sleeps longer than we expect, we wonder if she is still breathing.

Challenge 3: Back to the real world of non-vacation workdays tomorrow. It will be interesting to see if she and I both survive.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Drumroll, please...

Introducing: The So-Far-Nameless Puppy. She's looking for ants at the base of the tree. It's not the greatest photo of her, but is the one that shows her coloration the best.

Quick facts:

She's Aussie/Border Collie/Golden or some combination thereof.

She's ten weeks old.

She's a California Girl (as am I, originally).

She's soft as cotton and cuddly.

She has 8 brothers and sisters, some black and white like a border collie, one all gold, one all gold and white. Some are short-haired, some long.

Previous residence: Sutter Buttes K-9 Rescue in Gridley, California.

Current residence: Reno, Nevada, on mom's lap.

The biggest question: How am I ever gonna go back to work on Monday?

Puppy Love

she's sitting in my lap,napping, as i type one handed so there will be no capital letters today.

she doesn't have a name yet, but we have a list of possibilities going. she's smart and loves exploring her new world. life from a puppy's point of view is magical, i am finding. grass is wondrous. a leaf is amazing. a breeze can create toys to chase around the yard. a scrub jay high in the pin oak should be studied carefully. i am living on puppy time.

she explores EVERYTHING! we have picked up "stuff" in anticipation of a pup, but she is finding things we never thought about: dead ants around the maple, the part of the chair glide that sticks out beyond the chair leg, the texture of the braided rug. nothing is safe.

she follows us everywhere. she curls up at our feet. she naps on our laps.

we are wearing old shirts so she can sleep surrounded by our scent tonight. we hope to have a more restful night. she's just a baby and we are as sleep deprived as any new parent. and like any new parents we can't believe how wonderful she is. we've memorized her freckles, her patches, her texture.

we smile all the time.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


Our wonderful, loving, faithful dog died in early December. Her last days were happy ones--she was lively and interested and thrilled that her oldest boy was home visiting. We knew her final visit to our vet would have to be made in a matter of days and we were glad her last days were filled with all the people she loved. We didn't have to make that trip--she made a graceful exit, at home, in her bed. We shed tears and gathered up all the belongings of our beloved friend so that we would not have so many daily reminders to stab at our hearts. Our house seemed empty without her welcoming presence.

Finally in mid-January we were ready to begin looking for a puppy to fill the empty spaces in our home. We went to the animal shelter; we went to the humane society; we searched on-line. We didn't expect to find the perfect animal right away. Both our previous dogs took at least a month of repeated visits to the county animal control or humane society. But a month passed and no prospects. Well, we thought, it's still winter and maybe Spring will bring adoptable litters. We continued to look and look without success. Well, we thought, maybe during Spring Break we'll find something and have an entire week to bond with a puppy. As Spring Break approached, the search went into full swing--continuous online monitoring of PetFinder, of our area pet-rescue websites, and frequent visits to our new County/Humane Society adoption center. We left no stone unturned--looking at postings from Southern California, Oregon, New Mexico, Washington, Idaho, Colorado. If the perfect puppy was out there, I wasn't going to let a little geography interfere (my sweetie wasn't so sure about traveling long distances to get a pup, but I was beginning to be desperate for some puppy love). Some possibilities began appearing and we kept adding photos and descriptions to The List. Of course, some of those were adopted and disappeared, some were just far-away pipe dreams, and some were good but just not quite right. We knew what we wanted: Aussie/Collie/Golden Retriever mix, 5 months old or less, female. We were willing to fall in love with an adult dog or a male if it happened, but we were pretty set on the breed mixtures.

Finally, Spring Break arrived. We survived our Easter blizzard and were ready to take to the roads went they were cleared. If Nevada didn't have the puppy for us, we were going to California to look. Tuesday was nice, but we didn't get an early start and decided to wait a day. In the rush of getting together pound names, addresses, and maps before we started we still found time for one last search on PetFinder and something new turned up--cute, golden, female, aussie-border collie cross pups. Well, Gridley wasn't real close, but maybe if nothing else panned out....

We find the Auburn pound after many false starts but the staff are on lunch break. Off to Roseville but only adult doggies to be seen and not much of a selection at that. Let's hope Sac has more. They do and we are happy to see an older couple adopting the grown aussie that we like, but know isn't right. Back in the car for another couple miles to the animal control--hey! puppies and a good selection. Still just not the dog for us there. (Yeah, we are pretty picky, but this is a new family member we are selecting, not a new shirt.) We think Stockton probably has the next best amount, so we brave the rush hour traffic and head south on I-5. They have two lovely female golden mixed breeds. We even visit with one, but she's just too timid (hence unpredictable) and we have to think of our two little neighbor girls. Guess we'll pass her up.

Time to sit in the car and talk about options. We have our bags packed for a possible overnight stay, so we could continue in the morning closer to the Bay Area. It's just that the shelters all open pretty late in the day. So I make my first long distance call on my Christmas cell phone and ask about the Gridley puppies. They are still available so we get directions and make an appointment to see them that evening. Gridley's a LONG way, my sweetie offers. But right then I would have flown to Indiana to see a good puppy. Almost two hours later, we pull up to Sierra Buttes K-9 Rescue and look for Darrell, our contact, only to have our eyes captured by a rambunctious knot of black& white and gold puppies rollicking around a large pen. The fuzzy gold one from the website is there, but we are captivated by a lovely curly blonde with white markings. There's no question--this is OUR puppy, the one we've looked for and dreamed of. It took 4 months and hundreds of miles, but we've found her!

Don't you just love happy endings?

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Garden--4 Spring--1

Given sunshine and mild temperatures, no wind and a free Saturday: the roses now possess neat short thorny canes, the peach tree is tidily pruned, the oak tree lost 2 rows of lower branches so the sun can penetrate to the flowers below, and the Spring transplant list is complete.

Granted, Sunday was a tad inclement. I haven't yet dug in some new soil amendments, so the new irises have not been planted...but I did acquire two red- and two white-bleeding hearts for the shady side yard as well as a columbine for under the pin oak, so it wasn't a total loss.

If I have just one nice afternoon this week, everything will be planted. Heck, just give me a warm lunch hour or two. Maybe this year, it's Spring that will come in like a lion and out like a lamb. Baaaaa.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Leonine March, Blustery April

Where does the time go? Why is it that a week dragged by when I was in fourth grade and now an entire month can disappear while I'm looking for my glasses? Where have I been that I haven't actually sat down long enough to post a new entry in 3 weeks?

I have been spending lots of time at the keyboard. The soccer-related emails alone could account for a full week. Emails about meetings, emails about tournaments, emails about uniforms, emails about games, emails about practices, emails about cancelled practices, emails about schedules, emails about disregarding the previous emails, emails with attachments forwarded from other emails with attachments.

Could I just possibly coach? Could someone else worry about games, players, paperwork and uniforms? And could someone else possibly worry about the weather for me? Because I KNOW the other part of the 3 weeks was spent wondering and worrying and cancelling. We managed exactly one worthwhile practice day before our first game. We had one memorable practice where we had to kick a high-school lacrosse game off our field and then the weather turned so brutal with rain approaching snow and a cutting breeze that we barely survived. Forget actually coaching--my goal that day was to keep my girls moving so their blood wouldn't freeze. Any exposed skin was either our team's sky blue or a lovely shade of frosty pink when we came off the pitch.

At least I am done with paperwork. At least we've had enough girls show up for every game. At least we've had one game with no rain/snow/winds. Maybe the worst is over. Maybe not, but I find I'm not worrying about it. If there is one thing that this season has taught me--worry is a useless waste of energy. I can't change the weather and I can't change anyone else's priorities or schedules. I can read the wind, however; today it's telling me to get outside and have fun.
The sky is temporarily blue, the sun is out, the zephyrs are absent and the emerging perennials need me. And maybe I'll find time to get out the soccer ball and practice just for fun.