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Seeking Life's Adventures

They're Out There!

Royal Visitation
SnowFace Cody
Last Friday, I was treated to an extended Royal visit:

More Photos...Collapse )

May your day, your week, your dreams be filled with beauty and grace and connections to our wondrous, delicate Nature.

Five O'Clock Ay-eM on the Back Deck With Binoculars
SnowFace Cody
Sunrise has slid forward on the clock sufficiently to allow more of the stars to still be observable to the naked eye at 4:30 or 5:00 in the morning. So ... on this softly cool and dim morning, I sat on my back deck with my birthday binoculars in hand, a leopard print lap robe over my shorts-wearing legs, and a mug of coffee on the little table beside me. Leaning my head back, I brought the binocs up to my eyes ...

Ohhhhh, that bright star looks like a small sparkle-ball--a full circle with tiny bursts of bright sparks around the edge and throughout the center. And, over there on the right--that barely visible blur of maybe-light is actually a cluster of 6 or 7 stars in a twisted and compacted Tiny Dipper configuration. Could they be the Seven Sisters? I must find a chance to research them. And ... that "lone" star is really surrounded by a dozen or more lovely friends and neighbors.

What a lovely way to start my day! We REALLY need to do a Saturday evening out in the country somewhere. Very soon.

Speaking of neighbors:

Last night was National Night Out. Our Neighbors on 21st and on 22nd get together every year in the street of 22nd to visit and play. A neighbor I've never actually met played the upright piano that had been pulled out onto the sidewalk, sounding like the lounge pianist that entertains in the movies. This year a giant jenga game stood in the street for individuals to ponder and occasionally pull and move a piece. The adventurous could try out the unicycle, the electric standing scooter, and the variety of clown wigs and hats. Children biked up and down the block. And ran back and forth. And played with the colorful hula hoops. Adults gathered to chat. Ice cream and chocolate chip cookies fueled the party. And beer. And soda pop.

Arrow and I arrived rather late, since I had carelessly scheduled my Red Cross blood donation for after work yesterday. (If you can donate, please consider doing so now. The current supply of blood is very low. Donators are badly needed.) But we managed to get in a goodly amount of catching up with everyone. Arrow was--for the most part--a very good boy. He even said "Hi" very nicely to the mailman who he usually announces with loud barking. (Our mailman lives down the block and across the alley from us.) Overall, Arrow and I had a very nice couple of hours visiting, listening, and watching the youngsters' antics. I do wish MyJeff could have been there to enjoy the beautiful evening and friendly company, too. Ah, well ... I guess we'll just have to set aside another Saturday evening for a fire bowl gathering in our back yard.

This summer has galloped away entirely too swiftly.

... As has this morning!

Enjoy your day, my friends. May you find opportunity to indulge in many more summer-ish activities in the coming weeks!

Some Whining and Depression ... Feel Free to Skip This One, If You Want
SnowFace Cody
I'm out of practice at writing LJ posts. How do I start? What do I say? How much space-filling, stalling drivel will be tolerated? ....... Sigh........

My favorite radio stations are all either running commercials or discussing the details and angst of the recent shootings. None of which I really want to hear. So ... I've switched to the Classical Public Radio station. Not my usual "get the day going" background music. But I'll take it for a while.

It's been over 2 weeks since we helped our Vinnie move on to the Rainbow Bridge. Of course, we're still struggling to adjust and work through the sorrow. We still miss him very much. Arrow seems to be looking for him less than he did, but he also asks for attention and snuggles more often. I still need to get up the courage to email Vinnie's previous Mom to let her know that he's gone. She & I had been looking at doing a halfway-between meetup at some point so she could see him again. Now, that can't happen. I feel so bad about that, too.

To add another cringe to my lingering grief: Today would have been Mom's 98th birthday. I know she'd been very unhappy for several years and that she wanted to go on; to leave this world behind. Still ... I'm missing her extra badly this morning.

Sorry to sound like a Big Baby, but I need to get some of this out, some way. And you WERE warned up in my title. (Which means that I am grateful you're hanging in there with me...)

As long as I'm indulging my negative side: I'm sure sorry to see the End of Summer looming on the near horizon of the our time line. Hopefully, we'll have a better autumn than we had last year.

Ahhhh....my time is gone. Must get ready for work. I WILL toss in a more positive ending here:

The Minnesota Great Get-Together STATE FAIR is only about 2 and a half weeks away!!!!  AND ... Our State Fair was named as one of the Top 10 Best Late Summer Festivals IN THE WORLD! this year! As well as, once again, being declared the Best State Fair in the United States! Pretty impressive...

Well, I'm impressed. Why aren't you?

Recalling Vinnie By MyJeff
SnowFace Cody
As I recall Vinnie’s back story, he was owned by a young woman in Minot, ND. This young woman eventually got a man. The man was jealous and cruel to Vinnie so Vinnie was removed from this home. He was adopted by a couple with another dog and lived very happily in ND until they lost their home to flooding.

The couple had great difficulty finding a place to live for themselves, let alone with two dogs. So, again Vinnie (along with his companion) was surrendered to the Humane Society. The couple did try to keep a bond with the dogs. Visits and play times and eventually getting them out of the shelter and living with friends. Unfortunately, these friends could not give Vinnie the proper attention so Keeshond Lovers United was contacted. We were approached. Val went back to ND and rescued Davinci. He was our only "failed foster". If I said it once, I said it a hundred times, Vinnie was the best “failure” of our lives.

When she picked him up, Val was told the reason he was 82.5 lbs (about twice a normal male keeshond) was that he didn’t like to take walks. Nothing could have been further from the truth! All one had to say was “gopher” and he was up and ready to travel! “Gopher walk” or “gopher ride” were two of his favorite phrases. Of course, to start with—at over 80 pounds—the walks were short, but lengthened and became more adventurous as he lost weight and toned up. He was a grand companion to gopher...

Vinnie was very, very food driven. He would scarf down every meal, clean out any open dog food bowl of the houses he was visiting. Never people food or garbage cans. If you had a treat, you had his undivided attention – to the treat, not to anything else!

In summer, he ate grass. We called him “Vinnie the Goat” because he was such a grazer. Ice was one of his most favorite things. Somewhere in time, we collected a half dozen or so single serving microwave dinner “plates”. Shallow little rectangular plastic things. I’d partially fill them with water and in summer balance them in the basement freezer until we had some Ice Cakes. In the winter, I’d just do the process on the back deck. The limit usually was 2 cakes fractured into big bite-sized pieces. Vinnie didn’t like the cracking (sudden noises always frightened him) but he sure loved the crunching! Arrow got into it, somewhat. More to beat Vinnie to the ice treat if he could. But Vinnie... he would diligently scrape through a big pile of snow just to find a shard of ice near the bottom.

Like I said, Vinnie was very food driven. It was truly amazing how quickly he learned to tell time. We have a couple of unusual clocks. One that displays the phases of the moon and another that has different bird songs for every hour. Not long after he came into our lives, Vinnie put together that the 5 o’clock honk of the Canada Goose meant supper time. With him being of Dutch descent, soon he was ordering us out of our comfortable seats and herding us on into the kitchen to get his supper at the call of that damn goose! Switching to and from Daylight Savings Time was always a pain. Many was the time, at his firm but insistent barking, the mute or pause button was pushed or the bookmark placed and one of us was moved on to serve our Dutch Royals.

On that sad day, after Vinnie had gone, we solemnly stepped through the clinic’s exit door and walked around the block with Arrow. When we again came around to the Vet Clinic, Arrow went first to one door then the other wanting to go back inside. Though we’ll never know the truth for sure, we believe that Arrow wanted to get his best K9 friend and bring him home. Us, too Arrow. Us, too.

The Week ...
SnowFace Cody
This past week lasted a long time. Our household has been adjusting to the loss of our sweet Vinnie, and it hasn't been easy.

Arrow looked for Vinnie for several days, now he simply seems depressed and lonely. After all, he hasn't been entirely alone since Vinnie joined our family over eight years ago. But now Arrow spends about 6 hours alone, 5 days a week while the 2 of us are at our jobs. He's adjusting, but certainly doesn't enjoy it.

On the good side: yesterday, the three of us were invited over to a friend's house where Arrow could play with her two keesies. This friend shows her dogs on most weekends, thus they're rarely at home. Particularly, Arrow and her young female wrestled and wrestled and dashed back and forth. Arrow isn't so young or fit any more at 9 years old, so trying to keep up with a 9 month old doggie athlete like her (agility, barn hunt, etc) had him limping a bit by the end of the visit. He still seemed a little more his cheery self after the visit.

I arranged for my day off work for the State Fair and for the day after Labor Day to run a few errands I'll need to do. So. That's an accomplishment.

We participated in an online auction fund-raiser for Sunshine Keeshond Rescue Fund this week. We won 3 keesie-themed tshirts (I really expected to get outbid on at least one of them) and a set of "dog wisdom" cards. I'm thinking they're patterned after divination cards like the Tarot. They should be fun to play with. We really wanted the copper & keesie wind vane arrow, but were outbid at the last minute. Oh, well...

MyJeff and I have had some difficulties sleeping. Yesterday evening, this caught up with us and we found ourselves falling asleep, sitting in our living room trying to watch "Brigadoon". (Thanks for the inspiration, Neil!) Anyway, we decided to risk an early-evening nap. Mine lasted until about 9 pm, although MyJeff woke up a bit after 7:30. Apparently, I refused to get up at 8:00 pm, when he checked on me. At least...so he claims... I don't remember a thing about it.

I did get up about 9pm, and we spent the next few hours finishing "Brigadoon" and checking out the stars with my birthday binoculars. Arrow kept us company on the back deck while we marveled at all those pretty little lights surrounding the seemingly stand alone bright shine-through stars of the dark city sky that pop out when you focus good binocs on them. We even found a double-star directly overhead. I'm pretty sure we didn't get back to bed until around one a.m.

Today we're meeting a nephew of mine for lunch. His birthday is later this week, so lunch is on us today. He claims to be 36 years old, but I remember babysitting him and his elder brother early in my high school years. Since I'm 64...  Well, you can do the math. Anyway, we always have a fun visit with this nephew, and I'm looking forward to it.

I hope you have plenty of opportunity to look forward to your day, your week, and the almost-here month of August! Take care, my friends.

Our Vinnie Has Gone Ahead ...
SnowFace Cody
In the last couple of weeks, our Vinnie slowed down and seemed to have more difficulty with stairs, standing up, laying down, breathing, getting confused, and so on. We thought: getting older, arthritis, the heat, and so on. This week he seemed to slip even further each day. In the middle of the week, MyJeff took him to the vet who--among other checks--drew some samples and sent them for testing. We were waiting for results. Thursday night, Vinnie had a very bad night. First thing Friday morning, we made another appointment with the vet for 11:00. I called in to work to say that I wouldn't be in.

When the vet entered the exam room, she told us that the results of Vinnie's lymphoma test had come back that morning, and it was positive. Vinnie had cancer throughout his entire system. Lymphoma is basically untreatable and is always fatal, as you may know. An oral treatment does exist, but only 20% of dogs respond to it at all, and that possible response may be minimal. As our sweet Vinnie lay on the exam table--panting and barely moving--we could not elect to subject him to any more suffering.

Our Vinnie was so ready to move on to the Rainbow Bridge that his panting stopped before Dr. Dale finished injecting the large hypo of medication to release him. I'm sure that Keeno, Cody, Reed, Keesha, and Max greeted him and made him welcome. I can easily picture Vinnie, Keeno, and Keesha hanging out and exchanging stories in-between romping about with Cody, Reed, and big ol' Max.

MyJeff worked on a remembrance piece about Vinnie yesterday. When he finishes it, I'll post it here. For now ... I'll leave you with a collection of photos of our Sweet Davinci--and his buddy Arrow. In no particular order:

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We miss his sweet smile and tail wag. We will, of course, always miss him.
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"Fluttery Friends" Addendum
SnowFace Cody
While sitting on my back deck reading yesterday evening, I was graced by a small Red Admiral butterfly who fluttered past me a couple of times--I swear I heard "flutter" sounds on one of her/his near-face passes.

Then, the little miracle landed on the sleeve of my shirt over my left bicep. She folded up her wings and sat there for a couple of minutes. I practically crossed my eyes watching her. Then she fluttered on her way, and I lost track of her flight.

I delight in wonderful little moments like that.

Fluttery Friends & Flowers
SnowFace Cody
Yesterday, I stayed home to deal with an annoying upset digestive system that I definitely did NOT want to take to the office. Very low rez, low energy day. I spent much of it with a book (by Martha Wells--and allllmost finished).

At one point in the afternoon when I let The Boys out into the back yard, I had a lovely surprise. Arrow ran down the ramp and the sidewalk, disturbing 3 -- count 'em, THREE -- Monarch butterflies who were visiting our flower bed. The 3 Monarchs erupted across the yard, danced past the hazelnuts, fluttered apart and back together, two crossed into the neighbor's yard and back, and flutter-flutter-flutter. It was delightful to watch!

I saw a couple of them return to the milkweed blooms in my flower bed. At least one was still there later in the afternoon AND during the evening. I'm so tickled to see three hanging around at the same time. We've had several small Admirals, but these were the first of this year's Monarchs.

And ... I have some photos of our Pack Peony blooms that I've been meaning to show you. They're pretty and they're funky. The photos were taken from June 13 to June 21.

Enjoy your day, my friends!

Happy Happy Joy Joy ... It's Somebody's Birthday!
SnowFace Cody
I'd like to wish my friend akalablossom the best birthday she's ever had! Right now. Today!

Happy Birthday, my dear.

Did you know that your birthday this year will host a total solar eclipse starting a little before noon central time? ........ Of course, it's only visible in South America, like in Argentina and Peru ....   BUT: the miracle that is THE INTERNET can bring it to you live! Here's one link where you can watch the solar eclipse:


Enjoy your birthday, akalablossom!

June Shoots Outa-Here! July Arrives Dripping, Leaving Puddles All Over the Floor...
SnowFace Cody
Yesterday started fairly calm, although cloudy and with a definite gloom-factor. Suddenly ... Wind had trees and bushes whipping around as though they longed to take flight! Fortunately, little damage resulted and the high winds didn't last very long, but the gusting winds were a startlement. At day's end, I delayed retiring to sleep, but it was all MyJeff's fault. He invited me to sit on the back deck with him for a while before going upstairs to bed. The "while" stretched to about an hour or so. Neither of us wanted to let go of the day, the weekend, the month of June.

So ... we sat on the deck as cloudy daylight dimmed, and we talked. Just chatted. Enjoyed birdsong and watching a lovely lightshow of distant "frequent in-cloud lightning activity" at the southern horizon. Even though our weekend had been nothing special--house chores, grocery shopping, watching a couple of videos, and (for MyJeff) installing 2 window air conditioners--we felt a heavy reluctance to allow June to pass into the past. So, we just sat there, watched our slice of backyard Nature, and talked.

It was a pleasant way to end the day, the weekend, the month.

And now ... July has begun with a steady rain trickling, dripping, splish-splashing outside my open dining room window. I heard the DJ warn of thunderstorms through most of the day. Checking weather.com, I see that tomorrow (Tuesday) is the only day this week that doesn't offer the likelihood of thunderstorms! Soggy Holiday on the way!!!

We just might be packing up the dogs and heading to an out-of-town motel for a couple/few days to avoid the worst of the fireworks. Arrow and (most particularly Vinnie) are terrified of fireworks. Minneapolis is filled with people who find pleasure in making annoyingly pervasive explosion-type noise for DAYS (and nights) surrounding the Fourth of July. At least, this year we haven't had what can honestly be called "bad" incidents of such starting in May, as has happened in other years. Although ....... there have been a few scattered incidents.

Anyway, we're hoping to Get Out of Dodge for the worst of it. We shall see if Life cooperates.

Do you remember my mention of the hanging basket of blooming double impatiens I received for my birthday from my co-workers? Here it is:

I still haven't pulled out a shepherd's hook for it. But it does seem happy enough on the wooden stand.

I love that it keeps putting out new bloom buds as the open blooms fade and fall away.

This close-up does not show the color well, but it shows the structure of the bloom, which I find fascinating.

I hope you all have a splendid day--rain, shine, or something in-between! Hopefully, I'll find more opportunity and inspired energy to post a few times this week. Let's decide to enjoy the dickens out of July and all the beauty and good things therein!