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

Love is a many splendored thing….

“The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.”

–Morrie Schwartz


Well, it’s happened.  We knew it was only a matter of time.  The Beaumeister is in love.  That’s right, our little man has a girlfriend.  Her name is Gracie, and she is a cutie.  8 months old to Beau’s 17 months, full of spunk and able to give our boy a run for his money. Indeed, judging from Beau’s adoring gaze, her 100-yard dash not only won his heart, it is infinitely more impressive than mine. 🙂

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They like me, they really, really like me!

Let me begin (with a shout out to Sally Fields for the intro) by offering abject apologies for my delayed response to a series of wonderful blogging awards that have been bestowed upon me of late.  The tardiness of my response is by no means a measure of my gratitude, but rather a reflection of the fear that I will not be able to adequately fulfill the mandates of accepting said awards.  And now, with that disclaimer issued, I will get to the meat of the matter…

In order to accept the “Very Inspiring Blogger Award,” I must do the following:

Link back to the person who nominated you:

Thank you very much for deeming me worthy of this award, Maureen @ http://magnoliabeginnings.org/.  Magnolia Beginnings is itself a wonderfully inspiring little corner of the web, and if you haven’t had occasion to mosy on by and check it out yet, I would strongly encourage you to rectify that immediately.  Ya never know what little insight or spiritual boost you’ll come away with!

Post the award image to your page: Check!

Tell seven facts about yourself: Wow, this is tough (these sorts of lists are one of the primary reasons I’ve been procrastinating about my ‘acceptance speech’). That said, here goes….

  1.  In high school, I was an active member of the Latin Club.  My teacher was beyond amazing and was always coming up with inventive methods for stimulating our minds and making learning more interesting.  To wit: one of the coolest projects we ever did was translate instructions on the mummification process and then carry them out on a cornish game hen.  Girlfriend was tough as an old leather shoe by the time we were done with her, that’s all I’m sayin’, and she was most *definitely* not deteriorating….At the end of the exercise, she even had a custom made sarcophagus…
  2. For my 16th birthday, my parents gave me a cherry red 1966 Mustang convertible.  (One of the perks of being a Ford dealer’s daughter, thank you very much!)
  3. I have always loved languages and have been blessed with a certain facility for same–as a kid, my heart’s desire was to be a translator at the U.N.  (a desire viewed as decidedly bizarre by many  inhabitants of the little Midwestern farming community where I grew up).
  4. I graduated in the top 2% of my undergraduate class at the University of Illinois and have my name engraved on a bronze tablet in the library. (Yikes, I’m sounding increasingly nerdy here, aren’t I?!)
  5. I LOVE to travel.
  6. I’ve been to Tasmania and seen those little devils with my own eyes (no, they are not just cartoon characters :-))
  7. I love working out and feel odd if I don’t head for the gym each morning.

Nominate 10 other blogs (I”m sorry, but this is where I fall down.  Having excluded several of my absolute, ‘go-to’ blogs because they’ve already been honored with many awards (‘Waiting for the Karma Truck‘; “Lead.Learn.Live“; and “Help Me Rhonda“, I have 7 others that I’d like to highlight. N.B.: I know that some bloggers don’t ‘go in’ for the awards process.  If I have unwittingly gone against your wishes for recognition with awards such as these, my apologies in advance!!  Please feel free to disregard this award if it’s just “not your thing.”)

  • Charming Trinity: I adore the simplicity of this blog–each post features a triptych of photos based on a certain theme.  I look forward to seeing what Daniela has posted each morning!
  • Photo Botos: This blog boasts that it supplies viewers with “one spectacular image every day and the story behind it.”  ‘Nuf said.
  • The Book of Alice: Christine may well have the coolest Kidling on the planet–at the very least Alice is one of the most precocious I’ve encountered.  You *never* know what is going to come out of this child’s mouth, but thankfully The Mama is there to capture it for us.
  • Anake Goodall:Anake delivers a constantly inventive and provocative stream of images and videos.  I am always delighted when I see a post from him in my in-box.
  • Only Here Only Now: I’ve only recently begun following Tom’s blog, but it is AMAZING.  You owe it to yourself to stop by….
  • Jane Balshaw: This blog was recently started by an incredibly talented friend–Jane is a textile artist, an aesthetician, and a *wise soul.*  She has just begun her blogging journey, but I know it’s going to be a rich one….
  • Simon Marsh: Simon is an Anglican priest from England and, as they say at home, “a real piece of bread.”  He’s kind and warm and wise and I always feel uplifted after reading one of his posts.

Let them know they are nominated:  Will take care of this momentarily!

Link back to the person who nominated you:

I was recently nominated for the “One Lovely Blog Award” by David Kanigan of “Lead.Learn.Live.” David’s was the first blog I followed when I entered this amazing world, and I continue to be startled by his ingenuity, insight and instinctive ability to post something incredibly helpful, heartening or humorous at *just* the moment it’s needed.  If you are one of the lonely few who hasn’t discovered David’s little corner of the world, DO NOT wait any longer.  You owe it to yourself.

Post the award image to your page. Done.  🙂

Tell seven facts about yourself:

  1. I can make a chocolate bar last for weeks–I like to eat one square at a time.
  2. I do “Jacob’s Ladder” for an hour at a time at the gym.  (cf. #7 above–it’s a bizarre quirk, but there are worse addictions, right?  😉 )
  3. I’ve been all over the world, from Turkey to Tasmania, Spain to South Africa, and I’ve never visited the Grand Canyon. 😦
  4. I’m totally addicted to detective shows–‘Burn Notice,’ ‘Covert Affairs,’ ‘NCIS,’ ‘The Closer,’ ‘Major Crimes,’ — can’t get enough of them.
  5. I’m a voracious reader and especially love books that force me to consult a dictionary at least once every couple of chapters. (As fate would have it, my dear friend Mimi, the gal drivin’ the Karma Truck, recently nominated me for “The {Booker} Award.”  I’ll be fulfilling the obligations of that honor in a future post.)
  6. I adore dogs and love reading about different breeds, their special traits, their genetic background, etc.
  7. For many years, I’ve owned big dogs–German Shepherds, Dobes, Labs–but I’m afraid of cats.

Nominate 10 other blogs

I’m afraid that I don’t have another 10 blogs to nominate–I just don’t follow that many, and I’ve already tipped you off to most of the ones that I *do* keep track of.  That said, here are several that I’d like to recognize.  As I said above, should I have unwittingly gone against your wishes for recognition with awards such as these, my apologies and please feel free to disregard the notice.:

  • Momentum of Joy: Joanna is an amazing, warm, inspiring individual and a lovely blogger indeed….
  • Kizzylee: Kizzylee’s blog is so refreshing–always heartfelt.
  • Analyfe: Erin is a delightful young woman–intelligent, insightful and wise beyond her years.

Let them know they are nominated:  Will do!

Thank you again, Maureen & David, for acknowledging my blog in this kind way and THANK YOU ALL  for allowing me into your lives through this forum–it is truly a privilege….

Donna and Diablo PSA

Es ist heis. Fa caldo. Il fait chaud.  Whatever way you say it, it’s HOT out!  Here in New Hampshire today, the mercury’s in the low 9os.  Last week my parents in Illinois reported a temp of 104 at midday–NOT heat index–real temp!– and my brother in Texas forlornly informed me last weekend that “It’s been 100 degrees here for a least a month.”

While these blazing temps may be great for your tan, they are NOT good for our canine companions.  My crew has begun dispensing with their business with great alacrity–a quick outing in the morning, a VERY quick midday tour of the yard, and then a bit longer jaunt in the evening after the sun has set.  In between time is spent sprawled on the cool time floor or strategically positioned above one of the AC vents.

As most people know, dogs essentially don’t sweat–most of their sweat glands are located around their foot pads and are not terribly helpful in dissipating heat.  The only real way a dog has to cool off is panting.  Thus is it critically important to be extra vigilant during these warm summer days to make sure our furry friends are kept cool and hydrated.  The most important things to remember:

  • Make sure that your dog has easy access to fresh, clean, cool water.
  • Don’t overdo exercise in the heat–Bug and Beau and I walk early morning or late evening (my brother has resorted to walking his dogs as late as midnight in Texas to avoid the heat)
  • Offer your dogs a cool place to take a dip–if you don’t live near water or have a pool, kiddie pools work great!
  • DO NOT leave your dog in a parked car!!  If you’re running errands, please leave your pet at home.  It takes no time at all for temps inside the car to reach deadly heights.
So pour a cool drink for you and your pet and relax.  As Sam Keen said, “Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.”

For more hot weather tips, visit the ASPCA website.

Does this dog have an ‘off’ switch?!

Let me begin by saying that I’m generally very good about reading the fine print, you know “Some settling may occur during shipping,” “Don’t operate heavy machinery after ingesting,” “This structure is not meant to bear weight,” those sorts of warnings.  But I have to confess, although I have read about the prodigious energy of the Labrador Retriever, I did NOT fully appreciate the energy level that Beau would bring to the table.  Wow!!  This dog makes the Energizer Bunny ®  look like a slacker!

I literally cannot seem to wear Beau out!  I have a neighborhood walking loop that I frequent with both Bug and Beau–it’s a 2 1/2 -3 mile walk, up and down hills, etc. and we go at a good clip.  Lola comes home and sacks out.  Beau, conversely, pants during the walk, but is once again rearing to go within half an hour or so. :-/

Walking buddies!

I used to bike with my Dobes and would love to do this with Beau as well, but I don’t want to start such intensive exercise until Beau is 18-24 months old, as from everything I’ve read, it’s not good for their bones. That said, I’ve found a great bike leash that I plan to use when Beau does reach an appropriate age.

Beau LOVES puppy playschool at All Dogs Gym, and it *does* wear him out, but sending him to school on a regular basis gets costly.  He has a good buddy Desmo, a German Shorthaired Pointer who’s equally energetic, but both of Desmo’s parents work during the day, so play dates are tougher to arrange.

So….I ask you….what do *you* find works best to tucker out a 9-month-old firecracker safely?

Research Says: My Personality Profile Is Aligned With A Great Dane (Ouch)

A fun quiz and interesting article from fellow blogger David Kanigan.  His blog “Lead.Learn.Live” is fabulous–I take away something wonderful from it virtually every day!  And as readers of my blog know, I’m a ‘split personality’ who loves a Chocolate Lab and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel with equal ferocity.


Research Says: My Personality Profile Is Aligned With A Great Dane (Ouch).

Scary smart

Our star student

“This dog is SCARY SMART!” announced our trainer at the outset of this week’s obedience class.  “You guys just need to focus on channeling this energy and intelligence in the service of good.”  Understood, Obi-Wan Kenobi. 😉

The thing is, she’s right.  Beau is smart as a whip and catches on to new concepts in NO time.  He frequently ends up being the class ‘demo dog’, which is both a good thing and a bad thing–good because he gets whatever new concept the teacher is introducing in mere minutes, but bad because he’s usually selected because he’s exhibiting a behavior that we’re trying to {ahem} modify.

This week was a case in point.  Our little Beau Man is a lover par excellence.  He’s also nurturing a burgeoning talent as a puller and a jumper.  His jumping is impressive.  I’m not talking a few bunny hops around the arena, I’m talking a “full-on, body tackle, Oh my God I’m so glad to see you that I’m going to jump up and tell you so *eye-to-eye*!” jumper.  🙂

And the pulling, well, this is a newer issue.  He does quite well walking on a loose lead when it’s just the two of us cruising around the neighborhood.  But let us get to the obedience facility where there are SO many dogs and people to greet and, well, imagine a smallish woman waterskiing behind a 60-pound Lab and you’ll have just about the right visual. I’m quite keen on curtailing both of these behaviors, but especially the pulling, as I LOVE to go out for a nice walk with the dog, and it is NO fun if you’re being pulled from pillar to post.  Believe me, I know–I’ve been through this before.

My Chancellor Man

Chance, my first Doberman (may he rest in peace), was a prodigious puller in his youth.  Once, when taking him for a walk, he spied a baby rabbit in the yard and took off in hot pursuit.  I was bound and determined to hang on, as I knew the little rabbit didn’t have a prayer if Chance got loose, and hang on I did.  All the way through the front yard and around the house to the back.  Throughout the course of this “adventure” I mumbled a silent prayer that none of my neighbors happened to be looking out their windows, and when I finally managed to get back on my feet, I was sporting a grass stain that stretched from my bum to my shoulder blades.  But the bunny was safe and I still had the lead in my hands.  But I digress….

And “What of Miss Thing?,” you ask?  Not to be outdone, Lola Bug has begun showing Beau her “obedience chops” anytime she sees the bag of string cheese and poached chicken emerge from the fridge.  While Beau is working to execute the down stay that’s just been requested, Bug has already dropped to the floor (from 2″ above  it) and is eagerly imploring me to hand over the goods.  Or running a circle around Beau and quickly skidding to a sit.  Or rolling over or executing a pirouette while batting her lashes at me alluringly.  As her idol, Mae West, once remarked, “I’m a woman of very few words, but lots of action.”

Dogs–ya gotta love ’em…..

Conquering our fears….

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.”

–Mary Ann Radmacher

Screwing his courage to the sticking post for descent.

Well, it’s been an interesting last few days here at Chez Feinberg.  The Beaumeister has suddenly developed a fear of stairs. 😦   We’re not sure why, as he’s been navigating them masterfully for months now, to the point where he’s gotten a little reckless, especially on the “downhill.”  Oftentimes (especially in the morning when breakfast awaits below), he doesn’t even bother with the last three or four steps and just catches air as he makes his way down the final flight.

We’re pretty sure he took a tumble, though neither of us witnessed it.  He’s fallen in the past going both up and down, but he’s always dusted himself off and ‘jumped right back on the horse’ so to speak.  But this time is different.   He’ll still go *down* the stairs, but he will no longer go up.  Those two back legs are *not* leaving the ground for love nor money (or chicken, string cheese, or kibble for that matter), he’s made that perfectly clear.  He’s shown a *remarkable* ability to stretch his body (as a former Pilates instructor I can tell you that his extensions are a sight to behold), but he absolutely refuses to lift a back paw off the ‘terra firma’ of the foyer.

Now I’m proud to say that I follow a pretty rigorous fitness regimen, including strength training (the importance of which will become relevant momentarily), but I would like to go on record to say that hauling a 7 month-old, 60 lb. bundle of Chocolate Lab love up two flights of stairs is *not* an exercise I’ll be recommending for my boot camp class.  (Beau, conversely, thinks this new development is fabulous–he gets this dreamy look in his eye as if harkening back to his younger days when Mom routinely toted his little brown bum up and down the stairs.)

Lola Bug, meanwhile, is both puzzled and relieved by this sudden turn of events.  She speeds up and down the stairs by Beau, glancing over her shoulder as if to say, “Come on, Beau, this isn’t hard!  Chase me!” Then she gets to the office or the bedroom, realizes that he *isn’t* following and gets a wee twinkle in her eye as if to say, “Well, now, just a minute!  This is rather lovely–I can stretch out in this patch of sunlight and relax, since that brown bomber is not going to pounce on me the minute I shut my eyes.”

I know, I know, I can just imagine what you’re thinking–“Lori, what are you doing?!  Don’t carry him, for heaven’s sake, he’ll never do it on his own again!”  And you’re right, I know you are, but seeing him gazing up from the bottom of the stairs, his front feet on the third or fourth step while his back toes grip the foyer floor, breaks my heart.  The whole family is upstairs and he wants to be up there, too.  I promise you, we’re still working on re-establishing his climbing ability every day, but until he gets his confidence back, I’ll help him out.  He’s a very smart boy and determined too, and tomorrow’s another day.