Welcome to Puppydom

It’s been over 15 years since we last had a puppy – that’s over a century in dog years!

Upon deciding to add a new little ball of fur to our family, I began the quest to obtain puppy knowledge. What the heck was I going to do with this new wagging-pack member? How would I train him? How would he train me?

I began with the Internet (of course), with hyper-focus on sites that specialized in Yorkshire Terriers. The information available was overwhelming. Next, I visited our local pet store and spoke with the store manager to glean insight on food choices, training courses, chew toys, etc. (And all along the way, I began buying cute little sweaters, a sheep-skin lined harness and a leash with a flashlight included in the handle!)

Seemingly, the more information I gathered, the more unsure I became. I don’t stick to regimes. I get tired (dare I say, lazy?!) And lastly, my life has become very easy, so why was I about to add complications?

Yet, as the universe works, a friend suggested I chat with the local “dog whisperer” – so I called him. It was probably the smartest phone call I ever made! Prior to bringing the new puppy home, I made an appointment to have Ron Murray from Montana Murray Kennels pay us a home training visit. We would pick up the little “ankle-biter” on Saturday, and training would begin on Monday. Suffice to say, I would have to endure on my own for two days – 48 hours. (By the way, Mr. Murray assured me that I could not create bad habits in two days. I prayed that his insight would be correct.)

Prior to Mr. Murray’s visit, the first two nights sleeping in the crate did not go over very well. There were barrel-loads of barking, shrieking, pawing and otherwise general puppy un-ease.

I wondered if I’d made a grave choice.

My sleep is one of the most important parts of my life. I would become Medusa on meth without the proper sleep-sum per night.

What have I done?

Puppy training day could not come soon enough. I was hanging all hope on the fact this canine genius would solve all our puppy non-sleeping, hate-the-crate problems.

Upon arriving in our home, Mr. Murray began to spout all his puppy pansophy – highlighting the fact we need to act as the pack leader. He gave comprehensive information in terms of  “the pack” mentality and how we need to lead the charge.

Hands down, the most important piece of Intel that was passed from the “puppy professional” to me, was the “how to keep the puppy quiet in the crate” routine. That nugget alone was worth every penny of a private in-house visit.

How to Keep Puppy Quiet in the Crate Rule:

1. Place puppy in crate.

2. When puppy whines, barks or otherwise protests, begin the “correction” by shaking the crate and making a sound like a balloon losing air – pssssssssstttt, or aaaaaaaaaaaaattttttttttttttttt. 

3. Continue to “correct” as needed. 

The result?

Puppy sleeps peacefully in crate night after night, with each progressive night going longer and longer prior to needing to go potty. (Potty training is a whole different topic, of which I am not yet prepared to speak of successfully.)

Next time I see Mr. Murray, I’m kissing him directly on the lips!!

Yorkie Puppy in snow Rocco Christmas

rocco puppy running to me

Don’t worry, there will be PLENTY more of Puppy Tales as we progress.

In fact, today is our first visit with the puppy doctor – and boy, do I have questions!

 KW AAL Logo

From 2001 {Kindergarten} to 2012 {Senior Year}

When my son started Kindergarten, I did the mental calculation to determine what year he would graduate from high school. It would be the spring of 2013.

2013?

Damn, that felt like an eon and a day away.

Until now.

Today, my son – now deemed “The Senior” – begins the final walk in the short march toward high school graduation.

Looking back, the first day of Kindergarten, I was standing on the black-top in a sleepy neighborhood of Windsor, California, holding a little hand in my hand that was shifting nervously, yet excitedly.

After hearing the bell ring, we waited for the teacher to make her first appearance. I’m certain I had more butterflies in my stomach than a grains of sand on a beach, wondering what he would think and how he would react once his teacher made her debut.

She was a “seasoned” teacher, well-dressed, with a cute, blonde bob. Her class was a Kindergarten-first-grade combo, since “The Kindergartener” was one of the older kids (not to mention his maturity level!) he was one of only six Kindergarten children placed in this class.

We all followed the teacher from the playground to the classroom, two-by-two, moms (and some dads) holding hands with our children, with each step growing closer and closer to the classroom door, and our inevitable displacement from our little ones.

The closer to the door I got, the more anxious I became.

Would my son handle his first day of kindergarten the same way he handled his second day of pre-school? (Note: his first day of pre-school was perfect. He walked in, said goodbye and I left – crying to myself. It was the second through 90th day that brought stomach gasses into my esophagus, as once the “pre-schooler” knew what to expect (read= being left behind) he protested in a major way – crying, clinging, with dozens of yelps of “mommy-don’t-go” until the teacher and I worked out a routine of disengagement – I would walk in the classroom, and she would immediately pick him up so I could make my inevitable escape.)

As we approached the classroom door, the teacher – with her knowing smile – said gently, “This is as far as moms and dads go.” And with that, my son unclasped my hand, walked into the classroom with the other 19 students –  stepping foot into his future and never looking back.

Fast-forward a dozen or so years to today – a bright, clear,warm morning in Bozeman, Montana and you’ll find one “seasoned” mother who has tears in her eyes as she waves goodbye to her son as he drives himself to his first day of his final year of high school.

Gone are the days of making brown-bag lunches.

Gone are the days of combing down the Alfalfa hairs on the crown of his sweet little head.

Gone are the days of walking him to the black-top, holding hands while waiting nervously for the teacher to appear.

For today, he claims his independence.

And along with his independence, he takes my pride, and my heart.

It’s been more than a few years since I’ve personally escorted him to his first day of school, yet this year there is finality.

Yet, as we know, when one thing ends, another begins.

And, oh, what a ride it’s been!

(Please note, I was allowed to offer a kiss on the cheek this morning – which is unusual – and I got a “love you” in return.)

Football MSU-Style ~ It’s “Cat”-tagious!

It’s almost that time.

Bobcat Football Time.

Season opener is Thursday, under the lights, at Bobcat Stadium. Kick-off at 7pm (and guess who got an invitation to attend this SOLD-OUT event?? Oh, yeah!!)

The photos below are from seasons past, but the perfect motivation to prepare for a new season of Bobcat Football!

Who says football is a beastly sport with no heart?

It begins with the “Cat clasp.”

And then a sweet prayer to the football Gods.

Then add some spirit, we’ve got some, how ’bout you?

Get your “up-do” spiked and ready…

 

Finally, get your “swagger” on…

Good Luck Bobcats in the 2012 Football Season. You got this.

 

A Walk Through Petaluma, California

Editor’s Note: Today is a BIG day for my hometown. The little league boys of summer are playing for the title in the U.S National championship. This is big stuff for a small town. And as anyone from a small town knows, it doesn’t matter how far you roam, there’s no tug like the first place called “home.”

As I sit nestled deep in the Treasure State today, I will be tuning in to cheer for my first hometown. My first love. Bursting with pride all the while – win or lose – these boys have done something so spectacular and the legion of Petaluma homies are rooting and cheering for them – no matter where we call home today. 

This post was written one rainy winter day when I was acting as a tourist in my hometown. Years later, I realize all the sights that were easily taken for granted, that when I witness again, brings a gentle smile to my face and a warm glow to my heart. 

I had the best time yesterday.

I played tourist in the town of my youth. The town where I celebrated my first birthday, attended high school, met Sexy Hubby, learned to drive, grew up and moved away.

Prior to meeting a dear, old high school friend for coffee, I walked around my home town and photographed sights I have walked by a million times without truly seeing. I also took note of several new sights, things that simply weren’t around when I was growing up.

I am no longer a resident. I am considered a visitor, yet with a camera in my hand, photographing the old and the new, the familar and the never-before seen, I felt happy.

You become part of a place. And it becomes part of you. Even after not living in this place since my early twenties, the feeling of “home” never goes away.

For my Petaluma peeps, you’ll recognize the sights.

For my Montana peeps, you’ll get a “birds-eye” view of the first place I ever called home.

What used to be old, delapataded industrial buildings along the Petaluma River, are now super-cool, upscale, and trendy loft apartments.

Who knew the Chicken Capital of the World would grow up and get sophisticated?

I walked toward the Petaluma River, and saw a vision of an old bridge.

The “D” Street Bridge.

The bridge where Sexy Hubby as a senior in high school wrecked his dad’s company truck. Yep, can’t walk far in this town without running into some history.

After coffee at the Apple Box, off the Petaluma River, I walked the familiar streets of downtown Petaluma.

Then I saw the alley.

The alley I’ve walked by hundreds, perhaps thousands of times, and never walked into.

There was art in the alley.

Home is a place where people come together and form a community, a fellowship.

Home is where your heart grows warm. Where you find your true center.

Petaluma, you were with me from the beginning. You were the first place I called home.

And even though you are not my home any longer, you still warm my heart.

Even on a wet and rainy day.

Shame On Me Moment

I’m not sure exactly the moment when we turned into such an impatient lot, but we don’t like to wait, be delayed, or otherwise detoured in the slightest.

We get frustrated with lines for the toilet, stop lights and God help you if you leave your ginormous CostCo cart unattended to grab a free snack. {As I harken back to the recent moment when this happened to me, I can feel my lungs constrict. Need. A. Deep. Cleansing. Breath.}

Apparently, our fast-food isn’t fast enough. I was just informed that our local  taco shop (of the national chain variety) is installing a SECOND drive-thru lane. Two drive thru lanes? It seems we are peeved when we have to wait longer than 20 seconds for our burrito supreme.

Leaving Yellowstone park a few weeks ago after a long holiday weekend, I was tired. All I wanted after five hours of being stuffed in the back seat was to be set free. We were outside the gates of the park, in the final stretch to Bozeman, when out of nowhere,  on a bridge over the Yellowstone River, we suddenly came to a dead stop.

On a bridge?

Seriously?

We were third in a line of cars – not too long – but long enough that I couldn’t crane my chicken neck around to decipher what in the Hades was the hold up?

“Go around,” I spouted to the chauffeur (a.k.a Sexy Hubby!)

He didn’t move.

“Honey, really, go around, these yay-hoo’s are probably just gazing at the river or some stupid thing.”

Sexy Hubby begrudgingly began to steer the car into the opposite lane, when the cause for traffic jam became apparent. Or should I say non-parent.

Immediately, upon seeing the reason with my own eyes, I felt like a schmuck.

An impatient fool.

Immediately, shame-filled every cell.

I was so buggered by the stopped traffic, that I never – not for a nano-second – stopped to think beyond my own inconvenience of being stopped. Yet, as soon as I noticed the reason for the delay, I realized (with a gulp) that the considerate person in the front of the line was simply trying to help.

Help reunite the parent with her lost babe.

I hope this lesson is not lost on me.

I hope I will remember that it’s not always something we can “see” but instead of reacting in a defiant “what-the-hell-is-going-on” manner, ask, “How can I help?”

To the lady in the Suburban who stopped, then turned around to help reunite mom and babe (who were on opposite sides of the river) I applaud you (with my head hung in shame over all the expletives that were reverberating inside my head during the stand-still on the bridge.)

I saw a bumper sticker in Bozeman recently that said, “You didn’t move here to be in a hurry.” 

Indeed.

 

 

Loving Remix

Editor’s Note: Happy summer gentle readers! I have not forgotten you or these blog pages, but when the weather beckons, who am I to decline??

Anyway, this post was written last June after my nephew married his charming bride. Weddings always stir emotional feelings of love and admiration, leaving me starry-eyed and swooning over my groom of 18.5 years. Recently, I’ve been bursting with love and appreciation for my spouse, now more so than ever, which strikes me as weird and wonderful all the same. Clearly, I loved my spouse on my wedding day, yet, it feels a million times stronger today – and who am I to question why we love love so much? 

A funny thing happened after attending a recent wedding and witnessing the pure love and adoration between the young bride and groom – it reawakened my own love with my groom of nearly 18 years.

I preface by saying, my marriage is already solid and comfortable and happy, but it never ceases to amaze me the fierce love that stirs after witnessing a new couple in their life-long pledge to one another.

Which begs the question, “Why do we love love?”

Why do we love a good love story?

Why do we cry at weddings?

Why does our chest feel warm tugs when witnessing the pledge of love?

Because love breathes at the core of who we are when we display true and authentic emotions, unafraid of disclosing our deepest desires.

Because we realize the journey is greatly enriched when shared. When each new step is not taken alone, but rather in tandem with our life-partner.

Because we recognize life is indeed an adventure and the road is paved with days of richer and poorer and sickness and health and good times and hard times.

Because we are meant to take this journey with a partner.

What begins with a ceremony, and all the pomp and circumstance of cutting cakes and first dances, slowly grows into something more. Something deeper. Something I never expected.

Over the years, day by day, love grows. From the birth of children, first steps, the tooth fairy and Santa Clause to the tragic loss of parents, best friends, houses on the mountain, and health concerns, high blood pressure, failing eyesight and snoring. {Oh, Lord the snoring.}

Yet, with each of these life events, with each breath, you become closer to your spouse. You begin to wonder what you would ever do without them. Their essence becomes interwoven with your own, and you get to the point where a single look speaks more loudly than words.

Upon waking Sunday morning – the morning after the Wyoming Wedding – with my messy bed-head and puffy eyes, I gazed at Sexy Hubby, his messy bed-head lying upon a pillow next to me. I felt happy.

Happy that I still feel the passion, the desire, and the deep and unbinding love that keeps me warm on cold Montana nights {of which, there are plenty!}

Love.

At the beginning, it looks like this…

 

And, if you’re lucky, fast forward 18 years, and it looks something like this…

And if I had to do it all over again, indeed I’d say “I do.”

 

Sunday Snapshots

I love summer Sunday’s in southwest Montana. Mother Nature is playing nice (except for some wind that is unnecessary) and we are in the throes of lovely sunny, warm and fresh live-your-life today, days.

Today’s photo was taken at the Chapel of the Transfiguration outside Jackson, Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park. Built in 1925, the church serves the local Episcopal  community from May to September.

Not only is this quaint, little church an epic snapshot opportunity for park visitors from every corner of the globe, we have a personal connection to this 87-year-old dwelling. My mother in law’s ashes are here. Whenever we visit, and walk outside to the front of the church, facing the most incredible mountain range in the western hemisphere, my chest gets tight, and my eyes spring tears.

I loved my mother in law. I was lucky to have her.

I miss her.

And I especially miss her home-made bread pudding, which she created from memory. The recipe was never written down, thus it went gently into the good night when she did.

Happy Sunday!

Sunday Shadows

While in the desert Southwest recently, it goes without saying, I was shooting scenery (yet, hold onto your hats, the following photos were taken without the watchful eye of the Rebel, but instead through the view-finder of the iPhone!)

I love shadows.

I love chandeliers (or lanterns as is the case).

Seems I captured the best of both.

 

Friendship – the Vitamin of Life

Editor’s Note: This post is from the archives, but I just love the images and the final line about friendship so much, I knew I had to repost. Just looking into these faces, made me smile. 

Ask yourself, are you doing all you can to be a better-than average friend today?? I know you’ll do your best, my gentle readers. I just know it. 

Rewind May 2011:

While in the homeland last weekend, my most “natural and organic” friend offered to cook for us.

The most important meal of the day – breakfast.

It was a delightful reunion of the Breakfast Club, some 26 years after first becoming friends…

A most important breakfast guest – Buddha!

I began arranging the fallen rose petals on the table to “stage this photo” for the great Buddha…

…only to discover a hidden breakfast clubber amongst the petals!

Need to use the restroom?

Find the one for the “girls” – so cleverly marked…

{I love this!}

Sent via email by another friend, and worthy of sharing:

Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

A sharp tongue can cut your own throat.

If you want your dreams to come true, you mustn’t oversleep.

Of all the things you wear, your expression is the most important.

The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.

The heaviest thing you can carry is a grudge.

One thing you can give and still keep – your word.

You lie the loudest when you lie to yourself.

If you lack the courage to start, you have already finished.

One thing you can’t recycle is wasted time.

Ideas won’t work unless ‘you’ do.

Your mind is like a parachute – it functions only when open.

The pursuit of happiness is the chase of a lifetime.

It is never too late to become what you might have been.

After breakfast, we spent some time in my friend’s lovely garden and were greeted by vibrant “Friendship” roses in honor of our years of companionship, laughter and love.

In closing, this was my favorite of the shared quotes:

The best vitamin for making friends – B1.

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