Saturday, October 21, 2006

and now, here's Duke Gary Winston!

My second newest nephew arrived on September 9. I wrote in a previous blog that my youngest sister lost her dog, Gunner, to cancer in August. She and her husband were looking for another German Shorthair but this time a younger pup. She had been scouring and found a 5 month old at the Denver Municipal Animal Shelter. Since they live in Albuquerque, she emailed me Friday afternoon to go check him out. I wrote back, "you realize I won't leave the shelter without him, are you ready for a puppy?" She said, check him out and call me.

So Saturday morning, September 9, we drove down to the shelter. I made Mark walk in first and find the dog from the tags on the front of the cages then I walked in with my eyes shielded so I wouldn't look at anyone else. Shelters are good to help adopt out pups but I hate them at the same time. I want to take everyone home.

A volunteer came over to ask if we’d like to take him into the bonding room, and we did. I called Sara on the phone as the pup licked me from head to toe. He is a gorgeous chocolate brown with the white and black spots on his underside. His disposition was fantastic – a lot of energy but normal for a pup. He was about half the size he'll be as an adult. I knew immediately he was my new nephew. Over the phone, Aaron asked if he looked like a "Gary," I replied "no, he looks like a Winston."

We went back to the front desk to make arrangements only to find out he had to be fixed first before he could be released to us. This was a minor issue - I really wanted to get him out of the shelter and at the same time, that weekend was more convenient for Sara and Aaron to get him. As I discussed it on the phone with Sara, a volunteer mentioned that because he had a cough I detected earlier, he might be able to be released without being neutered first.

The woman at the front desk was the biggest … well you add your choice of words there. She was not willing to bend at all. So we asked to chat with the vet. She snapped that he wasn’t in until later that afternoon. Fine, we said, we'll call. She threatened that if someone else looked at the pup and wanted him, then we'd lose him. I said, nope we're taking him no matter what and put down the $35 adoption fee with a receipt.

Drove back home and waited until 2:30. Getting through to the shelter is a challenge since it goes through the city of Denver system. Several times no one answered, I was put on hold and then disconnected -- only to find out the vet wasn't in yet. Finally after being very persistent (I am sure Ms. You Know What was responsible for disconnecting me several times), I was able to chat with the vet. He had examined the pup and decided that the pup should be immediately removed from the shelter and told us he would release him to us that day.

So we called Sara and Aaron, who were waiting by the phone to jump in their car (as they could not wait to get him, plus wanted to go up to see new baby Ezra). We jumped in our car and headed back down to the shelter.

We walked in the door, and Ms. YKW looked at us and started yelling at the other girl, “did he tell you anything? He didn’t tell me anything” and buzzed the vet. Her feathers were very ruffled that we had succeeded in doing what we wanted and not what she wanted. The vet came up and handed her a sheet of paper, "here's the release notes." She snapped back, "I don't type." The other girl quietly took the form. We signed it stating that we would have him fixed by October 9, slipped a harness on him and took him out the door.

He was hesitant at first to get in the car —probably since the last trip brought him to the awful shelter. We didn’t know what happened to him before.–The Denver Municipal Shelter doesn't get details like the Dumb Friends League, unless he bit someone. All they could tell us was that his previous owner gave him up. We knew from his demeanor that he had not been abused but for whatever reason, the previous owner couldn't keep him. Maybe he required too much space and lived in an apartment. Maybe he was too much of a puppy. Maybe the owner had to move.

He slept with his head on my lap most of the way home – he had been given drugs for the kennel cough which made him drowsy. Once home, he was very excited to see everything. We kept him gated in the kitchen and the girls in the living room because of the cough -- even though they're vaccinated, I wasn't sure what kind of cough it was. He was curious about everything and was really funny when Toby the cat came up to greet him -- apparently the first time he'd met a cat. He is smart and learned the stairs quickly -- something he should teach his cousin Sarah-Dog, who after six years in my house is still very afraid of the stairs.

We had him for about 7 hours before Sara and Aaron arrived from Albuquerque. We fell in love with him and were tempted to turn out all the lights and pretend we weren't home. But I know Sara and Aaron are dog people like me and had a big hole in their hearts to fill. Their other pup Mollie (an English Pointer) was lonely and missing her buddy. When they arrived they were still wondering what to call him. It took a few days for them to decide on a name so I called him Duke Gary Winston a combo of the ideas. They decided on Duke. His cough was gone in a couple of days and a week later, he was “tutored.” (Thank you Gary Larson.)
Duke, you will live a spoiled long life!

Welcome to the world Ezra!

In September, I got two new nephews in my life. The first is 5 lb, 2 oz Ezra Paul who arrived a little early but very healthy on September 6. He’s a very mellow and happy baby. My sister had gone in to the hospital the night before with the feeling that something wasn't quite right. They checked things out, found nothing too out of the ordinary but the doc decided to keep her overnight on a monitor. The next morning, she went into labor and an hour into it, they performed an emergency cesarean. Every time Trina had a contraction, Ezra's heartbeat would drop. Ends up the poor little guy had a short umbilical cord. He would have been in trouble had she gone into labor at home. Chalk one up for mother's intuition!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Bon Hiver!

The first snow is falling in my neck of the woods.

Oh! The snow, the beautiful snow,
Filling the sky and the earth below,
Over the housetops, over the street,
Over the heads of people you meet.
Skimming along,

Beautiful snow! It can do no wrong;
Flying to kiss a fair lady's cheek,
Clinging to lips in frolicksome freak;
Beautiful snow from heaven above,
Pure as an angel, gentle as love!

Oh, the snow, the beautiful snow,
How the flakes gather and laugh as they go
Whirling about in maddening fun:
Hurrying by.

It lights on the face and it sparkles the eye;
And the dogs with a bark and a bound
Snap at the crystals as they eddy around;
The town is alive, and its heart is aglow,
To welcome the coming of beautiful snow.
(-possibly J.W. Watson)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Pacific Northwest Dreaming

The end of July I did a whirlwind tour of Western Washington state. It’s an annual event for me to visit my W-Dad in Olympia and then meet up with fellow mooseheads in Roslyn. This year I added a couple of other stops.

I arrived at Sea-Tac for some record high temperatures (100+). They even had the highest overnight low temperature while I was there. This is a part of the country not used to high temperatures like that, and needless to say, most are without air-conditioning. My nephew, Nigel was already at my W-Dad's house. He kept trying to put the "air-conditioning" on, which was simple the furnace fan to draw in the cool night air. Only he was trying it during the day while the temps were high.

The first weekend, we went to the Lacey flea market where my Dad’s wife sells potpourri (grown in their yards) and potted plants, and then on to the Lakefair booths. I bought a beautiful necklace and earrings set from a Seattle glass artist. To beat the heat, we took the pups to frolic in Kennedy Creek.

As it finally started to cool down in Olympia, we headed to the north central part of the state to the Bavarian town of Leavenworth. It's a interesting town, even the local McDonalds and Safeway market buildings follow the Bavarian architecture style. All the shops on the main drag are full of flavored taffy, souvenirs, and cuckoo clocks. They all have speakers pumping out Oompah music as you go. The first afternoon we arrived, we wandered among the shops (although the weather was still more than 100 degrees F). So after a little while, headed back to the condo resort for the pool.

The following day, my Dad drove me about an hour south to Roslyn, WA where I met up with my "moose buddies" (fellow Northern Exposure fans). We had a blast as always hanging out at the Brick, seeing Pirates of the Caribbean in the old movie theatre (which used to be a morgue in the coal mining days), to visiting filming sites from the show. "what a time we had ... Splashed through bogs, ate like hogs, slept like logs." I stayed in my favorite B&B, the Huckleberry House Inn in Roslyn.

After the moosefest weekend, a couple of friends and I headed for the Emerald City of Seattle for a whirlwind tour. Since I did the same whirlwind through Seattle last October, I was tour guide. We dropped off our other buddies and the car at Sea-Tac airport and took the Grayline into the city. Our rooms for the night were at the historic Roosevelt Hotel, within walking distance of several things and a nice view from my room of the bay. After we checked in, we were off to Pioneer Square for the Underground Tour. There were a lot more people there in the summer than in the Fall but it was still a lot of fun. The tour guides have a lot of fun with it. After the history of Seattle, we headed for lunch to the same little Mediterranean Mix place I ate at last October. Hey – it was good!

With our bellies filled, we went on a mission to a specific shoe store Jennifer wanted to see. Along the way, we stopped into a native Pacific Northwest gallery filled with many neat things. Unfortunately we arrived at the address of Ped Shoes to find it had closed for good at 6pm the day before! Argh! But we continued on our way to the Pike Place Market for some cinnamon almonds and to watch the end of the day with the fish-tossers. As the shops closed down, we headed down the many, many steps to the waterfront so Jennifer could see the creepy things at Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe, as well as go pirate-wild at Pirates Plunder.

Jennifer was starting to load up with bags and even with Marie and I helping out, decided to take a taxi to the Seattle Center and the needle. This ended up being a good idea since my other option was to walk six blocks up hill to the monorail and unbeknownst to me at the time, the monorail was still closed after a crash last Fall.

We went up the Seattle needle, rested our feet, chatted and watched the sun go down over the city. We caught a taxi back down to the Roosevelt and had a late, late dinner at the hotel restaurant.

The next day, I didn’t have a flight until 8pm but Marie and Jennifer’s were early. Marie was really early and was up before us. I decided to ride in with Jennifer and see about standby on an earlier flight. Jennifer was going through Denver on her way to Boston. I ended up getting on her flight. She wasn't able to get her seat until checking in that day. As we sat there waiting, she complained that she was shoved in the back -- row 34. I looked at her ticket, we were on United and she had a economy plus. I was in row 36 -- an exit row. What the ... what kind of plane has economy plus that far back and an exit at row 36. Ended up we were on a 777 overwater -- normally reserved for Seattle - Tokyo flights. It was brand new and the biggest plane I've flown on so far.

After that whirlwind trip, I was ready for a nap!

Catching up

I've got several over due blogs to post. I'll pop them up as soon as I can.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Hazardous materials

I mailed a book the other day. The usual dialog with the postal clerk involves the question whether the package contains liquids or hazardous materials. Well, definitely no on the liquids. It's a book (which was mentioned since I was sending it media mail). The fluid ink has long dried on the pages. Hazardous. Well, that one could be argued. Maybe the book (a computer software manual) could cause boredom. That might be hazardous. Or perhaps it has bad information. That too might be hazardous. It could cause paper cuts or even a bruise if it was lobbed at someone's head (it's a big book).

Book as hazardous materials. Will further ponder this dilemma.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

what he really REALLY said...

Computer analysis proved Neil Armstrong actually said this:
"One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind .... %@#&! what did I just step in??"