Let it snow…

“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, SNOW is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.”

–John Ruskin

Beau in snow

Yes, it’s snowing here in New Hampshire–AGAIN.  Actually, I can’t complain.  It really hasn’t been a bad winter, just a couple of healthy storms, and it *is* February in the Northeast, so it’s not like the weather is a surprise.

Nemo’s blast a few weeks ago was impressive, there’s no denying it. 30″ of snow gets your attention, any way you slice it.  But today’s snow is different.

This snowfall is a lullaby from Mother Nature, a soft soliloquy expressed in big, round, fluffy flakes that spiral towards earth in a lazy waltz.  I walked the dogs early this morning and we had the world to ourselves.  It was *magical*. No plows had yet sullied the little lanes of our neighborhood, no others were out stirring. The only sound was that of the snow chirping in quiet protest beneath our feet as we made our way along the silent street. It was a delightful, meandering walk and a potent reminder of how positively delightful life’s simple pleasures can be.

Beau & Mom playing in snow Bug in snow

The weight of love

“Who, being loved, is poor?”

–Oscar Wilde

Miss Thing snoozing

It’s no secret that I’m crazy about my dogs, Beau & Lola. They return my love tenfold, and I am definitely the richer for it.  And while they’re each special in their own ways, many are the times here at Chez Feinberg when our Chocolate Lab Beau dominates the stage.  He’s bigger, younger, goofier, and frankly just more ‘in your face’ most of the time than Lola, the lady of the house.

Last week, however, was different.  Last week Lola Bug was center stage.  Miss Thing had to go ‘under the knife’ to have her teeth cleaned and, unfortunately, several extracted, and I was as nervous as any mother can be.  Lola is generally a love about most anything I ask of her, but she *hates* having her teeth brushed, so it’s an ongoing battle to keep those little chompers clean, and it’s one that I was losing.  So….I (somewhat nervously) made the decision to have her teeth cleaned by our vet.

It’s not that I don’t trust our vet, I do.  But Miss Thing is a *little* thing, and the idea of subjecting her to general anesthesia always gives me pause.  I adore this little girl, she is my shadow, and the thought of anything going awry during her procedure gave me a lump in my throat I could scarcely stand.  Who knew that a package weighing just shy of 14 lbs. could deliver such a dollop of love?  But this little girl does.  She loves me like no other, and as long as I’m within her field of vision, she’s happy….and so am I.

I’m happy to report that Lola came through her cleaning with flying colors, bounced back from the anesthesia without incident, powered through a few days of painkillers, and is now once more fit as a fiddle and ready for love.  She’s small, but she’s mighty, and boy does she deliver.  As her idol Mae West was wont to say, “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

THANK YOU!!

“Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.”

–Gladys Browyn Stern

I recently received word from my friend David Kanigan, creator of the fabulous blog Lead.Learn.Live , that he had nominated me for the “Blog of the Year” award.  This is my second nomination for this award; I was also generously nominated by Cristi of the delightful blog Simple.Interesting a short time ago.  Suffice it to say that, in the words of my Aussie pals, I was ‘gobsmacked!’

As I read through the list of my fellow nominees, my anxiety grew. Not only had I been included in prestigious company, but  many of the blogs that I admire and follow myself were recognized as well, thereby narrowing the field for my own nominations.  Fellow nominee, Mimi of Waiting for the Karma Truck quickly revved her engine and fired off her acceptance speech, pulling yet *another* chunk of my favorites out of play with her nominations. My panic mounted–how to properly acquit myself and do justice to the award–that became my challenge.  And time, obviously, is of the essence.  So without further hesitation, I offer up my nominees….

  • Inga’s Angle:  A wonderful photo journal of New York City.  Inga has an unerring eye and always gives one a new perspective on the Big Apple.
  • The Jolyn Project: This remarkable young woman again and again hits the mark–whether evoking a smile, laughter or tears, her posts never fail to move me.
  • The Book of Alice: Alice, a.k.a. The Kidling, is one bright little light with observations that are by turns remarkable and risible; fortunately The Mama is on hand to capture the moments and provide ‘color commentary’ as needed.

All of these delightful blogs (and so many others), bring inspiration, laughter, insight, knowledge and wonder to my world each day, as do each of you who follow this blog and take the time to ‘like’ and comment upon my posts.  Thank you for sharing a bit of yourself with me. The rules for accepting this award and sharing the wealth may be found at The Thought Palette.

Grateful….

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it

is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”

–William Arthur Ward

 Thanksgiving is a bountiful holiday–lots of food, family, traffic, turkey, sugar, shopping–you get the idea.  It’s also one of my favorites, a time to snuggle in with friends or family, sharing laughter and love, continuing some traditions and creating others.

As I settle in this evening in front of a delicious fire with my honey and my two canine “partners in crime,” my heart swells with gratitude for my many blessings.

Beau & Dad

La Lola

To all those who so generously share your light, laughter, compassion and love with me each day–THANK YOU.

Save it for a rainy day….

“Sometimes the  most urgent thing

you can possibly do is take a complete rest.”

–Ashleigh Brilliant–

Chillin’ with my crew…

It’s been a rainy day here today in the Granite State .  There’s a chill in the air and the leaves are trumpeting their last hurray in red and gold before winter sets in.  It’s the kind of day where, as my dear friend Mimi wisely observed, you toss on a pair of sweats, throw dinner in the crockpot (“Set it and forget it!” ;-)), and then kick back and let the luscious scent of autumn fill your home (I’m already catching a whiff of beef stew…)

Bug and Beau and I took the hint and snuggled in for a day of relaxation–reading and snoozing as the rain tapped softly on the windowpanes and the snores of the dogs sketched a lovely contrappunto. It was, in a word, a perfect afternoon.

As we drift into Friday evening, I leave you with the dulcet tones of singer-songwriter Melody Gardot (a personal favorite) singing “The Rain.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQA4EoE2cOM

Happy Friday all….

I’m on a quest….

“Don Quixote” by Pablo Picasso, 1955

Sounds romantic, doesn’t it?  The word immediately evokes thoughts of Don Quixote and “The Man of La Mancha” (admit it, you’re humming “The Impossible Dream” already, aren’t you?).  Ahhh, that it were so noble.  In reality, my quest is much more pedestrian (yes, that means ‘commonplace’ or ‘unimaginative’, but it sounds a lot sexier than ‘dull’, right?).  My quest is to rid the house of HAIR BALLS!

The pesky interloper….

It pains me to admit it, but I simply cannot get the best of these little beasts!  It doesn’t seem to matter how frequently I vacuum or how often I brush the dogs–as soon as I turn around, there are two more in the corner.  Ah well, back in to battle with my trusty Electrolux.

“To dream the impossible dream, to fight the unbeatable foe…”  Don Quixote, buddy, I am feelin’ ya….

More kudos for canine office companions…

Another rough day at the office…

Readers of my blog know that I spend most every work day with my dogs within ‘belly-rubbing distance.’  In fact, I recently posted on the joy I get from having Bug and Beau ‘at work’ with me.  This week, Dennis Wilson of Fast Company weighed in on the benefits.  Great article, so I thought I’d share.

Lola relaxes after a proofreading session.

The joy of ‘woofs’ in your workplace…

“Scratch a dog and you’ll find a permanent job.” 

-Franklin P. Jones

First off, full disclosure.  I work out of my home, so I’m spoiled.  I have Bug and Beau with me every day…and I love it.  If I’m having an ‘off’ day, there’s nothing like a good work break cuddle with my crew to remind me of what’s really important.  When I’m lonely, the gentle whistle and buzz of Miss Thing’s snores (which she would vehemently deny exist, I might add) remind me that I’m not alone.  When writer’s block sets in and my muse, like Elvis, has officially ‘left the building,’ a quick stroll around the neighborhood with the Bug or a raucous game of ball with the Beau man can be just the break I need to get my creative juices flowing once more.

I also experienced the joy and stress relief that dogs can bring to the workplace in my previous life as an employee at Harvard Business Publishing.  We were allowed to bring our dogs to work, provided they were well-behaved, and I have to tell you it really made a difference in the overall feel of the place.  You come to know your co-workers in a new way when, for example, your cube mate’s 140 lb. English Mastiff begins to {ahem} experience the after effects of a treat gone bad. (Yes, the scent is heavier than air….) Or you hear a noise in your cubicle and turn around to discover a distinguished colleague on all fours playing hide-n-seek with your 90 lb. male Dobe.

I was reminded of how lucky I am to share my workplace with my furry crew just yesterday, when NPR weighed in with a story on how ‘punching in with Fido’ can go a long way towards pushing the happiness and productivity meter up at the office.  Let’s face it–it’s hard to be grumpy when the soundtrack to your workday is the soft thwack of a tail on the floor, gentle snoring, or the occasional yip of a dreaming dog.  It doesn’t get much better than that….

Small kindnesses…

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

-Leo Buscaglia, author (1924-1998) 

My two favorite lapdogs!

As readers of “Donna & Diablo” know, this blog is dedicated to telling stories of life with my two favorite furballs: Lola Bug & the Beau Man.  These wonderful creatures bring untold amounts of love and laughter to my life.  (Alright, alright, in the spirit of full disclosure, they’ve been known to introduce a wee bit of frustration every now and again, too–just yesterday Beau coughed up what was left of the plastic shoulder guide to David’s laptop computer case after he’d worked it over.  Color me naive–I thought the little darling was taking a nap in the laundry room 😦 )

Although Bug and Beau’s myriad small kindnesses never fail to warm my heart, today’s post is about the kindness shown to me by two fellow bloggers–folks I’ve not yet had the pleasure of meeting in person who nonetheless enrich my life in ways large and small most every day.

The first is David Kanigan, author of the fabulous blog “Lead.Learn.Live.”  David is a wonder: funny, insightful, provocative, prolific–his posts give me a reason to pause, ponder, groan, guffaw, or giggle virtually every day.  One of David’s posts this morning, “Warm. Soft.Rain,” absolutely made my day.  In it, he mentioned one-word associations that sprang to mind for some of his blogger friends, and the one he linked to me was ‘happy.’ A simple pronouncement, yet one that warmed me to my core.

I AM happy–incredibly so–and it tickles me pink that my happiness is perceivable, even to those who know me only through my presence online.  I’ve been through some rough patches in the last few years, and it wasn’t all that long ago that ‘happy’ would have been far from the first adjective I would have been assigned.  But my life has changed dramatically and today I am happy more days than not, and blessed:  with a man I adore who loves me dearly (at times in spite of myself); with friends who frequently leave me speechless (and those who know me know this is no mean feat) with the love, patience, and generosity of spirit they show me; with two wonderful dogs who every day make me feel like I’m the greatest thing since sliced bread; with my health; and with the ability to grow in some form or fashion every day.  So thank you, David, for that wonderful compliment.

The second blogger I would like to thank is Mimi Krumholz of “Waiting for the Karma Truck.”  Mimi is a constant source of inspiration for me.  She is warm, witty, generous, and genuine.  Her humanity shines through in every post.  Mimi has encouraged this neophyte blogger in so many ways–she never fails to ‘like’ my posts and comments just as frequently.  The knowledge that someone out there is listening, and responding, to my musings is more gratifying than I can say.

Mimi has also graciously nominated me for not one but TWO blog awards: the ‘Beautiful Blogger’ Award and the ‘Sunshine Blogger’ Award.  Though I have not yet fulfilled the mandates associated with receiving these wonderful acknowledgments (but I will, I promise I will!!), this delay should in NO way be seen as a lack of appreciation.  I am, quite simply, touched beyond measure that Mimi would feel compelled to confer these wonderful awards on me when I am so new to the game.  This simple act of kindness is deeply appreciated and gave me just the ‘atta girl’ I needed to continue in my quest to grow and develop as a writer.

 

Simple acts, brief interactions, yet so meaningful to me.  As Mark Twain said, “Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear, and the blind can read.”  I hope that all those reading today can feel how much I appreciate their sharing a little bit of their time with me through this blog.  The boost it gives me is beyond measure.

The joy of good friends


“It is by chance that we met, by choice that we became friends.”

–Anon.

We’ve had a glorious past ten days here at Chez Feinberg, entertaining dear friends from Australia.  I first met in these friends in a chance encounter at the beautiful Cradle Mountain Lodge in Tasmania some years back (if you ever get the chance to visit this magical part of the world, GO!! You won’t regret it!!), and I knew from the start that we would be friends for the rest of our lives, no matter the miles between us.  We don’t see each other *nearly* as often as I would like, but when we do, we “suck the marrow” out of the experience, as my dearly departed grandmother used to say.

Chillin’ with friends

In this most recent visit, my friends met Lola Bug and Beau, neither of whom were in my life at the time of their last visit.  I’m proud to say that our crew proved to be world-class hosts, behaving beautifully while never missing the opportunity for a snuggle or rub from their new Aussie pals.

Beau & his new Aussie mate

Beau, not surprisingly, made it his business to be the major domo of our nightly Happy Hour, even managing to get a quick slurp of a Sam Adams when my friend’s hand-eye coordination proved a moment too slow. :-/  In fact, he’s decided this event should be an every-night occurrence here.  Since our guests departed, Beau has been eyeing the pilsners and a few moments ago he made it quite clear that the time had come to set out the cheese and crackers.

Miss Thing works the room

Lola, meanwhile, made sure that our guests knew that, although she’s a lady from the top of her nose to the tip of her tail, she’ll never walk away from a good belly rub.  As her idol Mae West was wont to say, “I speak two languages, Body and English.”

During our visit, we shared many laughs, revisited fond memories and made many new ones.  I was reminded once more how very precious good friends are, be they two-legged or four, and how important it is to treasure each and every moment.  As we head into this Memorial Day weekend, I wish you safe travels and happy times with the ones you love. Life’s too short for anything less.