Sunday, October 31, 2010

Our Anniversary Hostesses

We'd like to introduce you to the two ladies who treated us to an Anniversary Dinner at Carrabba's. You know me as the chubby, bald one on the far left and Helen next to me. On the right, nearest to the camera is Rita Lang, photographer extraordinaire. Behind Rita is Barbara Kennedy, the chef of their house and the baker of the best coconut cream pie ever made.

Carrabba's Restaurant is Helen's favorite and she had Pollo Mama Rosa, a chicken dish. To be honest, I don't think Helen has ever tried another dish there. The service was great and Rita even ordered an Anniversary desert of ice cream and coated pecans.....delicious!!! As I said before, we had a great time with great company and we can't thank them enough.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

43 years and counting

Well folks, Helen and I celebrated our 43rd wedding anniversary today. 43 sure doesn't feel that long, yet it's difficult for me to remember my life before Helen became a part of it. Our good friends, The Barita Girls, Barb and Rita took us to dinner at Helen's favorite restaurant. It was a very, very special time. The food and service were perfect and the company could not have been better. I think that Barb and Rita are now officially family.

You're probably wondering how an old SOB like me caught a hot chick like Helen. Scroll down and you will see that I was not always a fat, bald old man.

Helen's Dad, Russell, getting ready to walk Helen down the aisle.

Here's the happy couple. Please notice the hair. No, not her's, MINE!!!!!

Our ride to the reception. It seems like I have a bit more chin(s) than I remember.

You can't see below, but we're getting ready to cut the cake. When we got to the part where the bride feeds the groom and the groom feeds the bride, we did not get off on the wrong path by smashing the cake in each other's face. Helen was and is too classy to play that game.

And here we are in my '65 Le Mans convertible, heading away from the reception and off to a week on the Maine coast.

Two years ago we revisited some of the places we visited in Maine and were so surprised to see all the changes in just 41 years. Of course, coastal property anywhere is prime real estate and I think that it's even more so along parts of the Maine coast.

I can't thank Rita and Barb enough for making this anniversary one of the most memorable in the last 43 years. They are thoughtful through and through.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Trying to catch up!

Here I am again behind the eight ball as far as my blog is concerned. As if that wasn't pressure enough, Jodie and Coco, and now even Sandy are on my case to work on their blog also. I feel a little guilty because my friend Sam is so diligent about maintaining his blog. However, he only has Riggs where I have three dogs to take care of.

Helen and I have been busy passing our puppies on to their new homes. I already addressed the Friday night transfer. In fact, we already got several pictures back on his new life. The new family is waiting for him to distinguish himself in some way before they give him a name. Saturday morning we turned over to a nice couple from Orlando. They will call him Max, but will also refer to him sometimes as El Diabalo or the White Tornado. He was the liveliest of the litter, the most trouble and also the most fun. What spirit! We had a lot of fun playing with him outside.

Saturday night Aria, the lone female, had the house to herself and she didn't like it. She was lonesome and Helen spend a lot of time sitting in the pen holding her. Sunday morning her Ft. Meyers family came to pick her up. The little girl was very pleased and even the little boy warmed up to the new family member. It appears to be a case where Aria will grow up with the two children in the stereotypical American family. We wish them all well.

We're not exactly without company as we have Sandy along with our own two dogs. Sandy has become one of the family and she is very bright. She sees Jodie or Coco do something and very quickly picks it up. She mimics Jodie's tendency to greet us with something she picks up off the floor. Our girls also showed her how to chase squirrels. Sandy is just a tad taller than our two Labs, which means that she can see out over the windowsill. This gives her a great perspective on the ten squirrels who play in our back yard. She'll see them and start barking and wants to go out. Jodie and Coco will also start baying as they charge for the door. Squirrels beware!

Sandy also learned the meaning of "supper", "cookie", "out". She also knows that after their last outing of the night, they get a good night cookie, so when she comes in, she hangs around for the treat, just like the other two. So far, Sandy is causing us no trouble. Tomorrow she'll be going to the vet for booster shots and in a couple of weeks we'll take her in to be spayed.

Now, Helen and I are getting the motorhome and Jeep ready to go to the east coast for a few days. My brother has a place in Palm Bay and we have a reservation just around the corner at a dog friendly RV park with WiFi. Rick, my brother, is having some problems with his Florida car and I have the tools to fix it. Specifically, it's an air conditioning problem and I have the gauges and vacuum pump to get it working again. That shouldn't take us too long. We'll go out to eat each night and hang around during the day. I found an off leash dog park not far away and we expect to take the dogs often.

Helen and I got a new camera last week, A Canon EOS Rebel T2i. It is a digital single lens reflex and is the best camera we've ever owned. One of the features is burst mode, where the pictures are taken continuously as long as the shutter release is down. That is how we were able to rack up over 1000 pictures in just a few days. Trust me, we will never forget those puppies. They say the imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. That my be true. I took my camera to show a couple of friends. They looked at it and took a few pictures and before I could leave they had placed an order for two more cameras just like mine. They have a couple of exceptional trips scheduled in coming months and will now have camera that can maximize their memories.

As a matter of fact, we will not forget the last litter of pups either. The pups we raised last November and December were born 8/23/2009, so they were a year old Saturday. We got an email from Talulah, the only black female lab we had in that litter. She has become a real beauty, classical Labrador Retriever in every sense' It's apparent that her family is taking very good care of her and the pictures suggest that she's having a great time with them.

We both agree that having the puppies were a lot of work and that we will not do it again. However, over time one forgets the work and remembers the reward and who knows what we'll do in the future.

Well, it's late and I'm exhausted. I also want to shut down the computer before the dogs get wise and force me to work on their blog.

Riggs......behave yourself!!!! Sam has his hands full right now. I'm sure that he will more than make up for it when he gets home.

More later.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Today is the day we give this one away.

Today is the day we give this one away as his new family is on the way to get him. It's nice to know that we've done a pretty good job and we couldn't be more pleased with his new family. Of course, they don't know him yet, so they have no idea what they're getting except his appearance.

What they will bring home is the most mellow of the litter. Oh, he loves to play and romp, but he's not as vocal as Aria or El Diabalo. He is content, and that's a big plus with a litter as he doesn't require the attention that the other two do. I think the new family will find that he will be an easy dog to integrate into the family. Very mellow, but he aims to please. To say we will miss him is a great understatement. We only gave temporary names to two of the pups, Aria due to her constant yowling early on, and El Diabalo due to his constant high pitched yipping. I hope the new family picks a name befitting his mellow temperament.

All the work and sleepless nights all boil down to the last week or so when they sleep most of the night and are so much fun to play with. Two more to go. We'll still have our two and the momma, so we will not be lonely and the older dogs can get more of the attention they crave.

More later.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Enjoying the last few days.

Helen and I are sure enjoying the pups the last few days. They are at the right age to be a lot of fun. The little white devil is a real joy to have around, in spite of his big mouth. When we're outside and he wanders away, when we call him he comes running full speed. Of course we make the most of it and give him a big scratch. Since he has also become quite the lover he enjoys being cuddled too.

In the picture below the pups are enjoying the freedom of the whole kitchen. It works well for us because the become very active and soon tire out. A sleeping puppy is a quiet puppy.

Below, the White Tornado is surveying his territory. In another second he will be running full speed toward something he sees in the yard.

Here is the White Tornado mid-stride as he races to me. He comes so quickly and every time we call. The other two pups tend to ignore us.

Below is the tan male. He has no name because he never did anything to irk us. He is an extremely mellow puppy and his new people will be getting a dog that will be a real joy.

I hung a toy from a tree branch and all the pups enjoyed playing. The branch is supple enough to let the pups pull and the branch pull back,making the toy seem alive. Again, you will notice who has control of the toy and who is standing by.

So we are having a ball with the puppies and look forward to the weekend with mixed emotions. It will be nice to be free again, but we will miss the puppies something awful. There is the feeling in the middle of the night when they're barking constantly, but the feeling out in the yard makes it all worthwhile.

Right now, the tan male is being picked up Friday evening, El Diabalo Saturday morning, and Aria Sunday morning.

More later.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Three more days!

Yes, just three more days and the last of the puppies will be gone. Last Saturday I took the six "boxer type" puppies to a no-kill puppy shelter in Orlando. Yesterday I got a call from the shelter thanking me for bringing them the puppies. Although Lab Rescue had the puppies to the vet a few times for de-worming and shots, Puppy Pleasers had a vet check out the puppies and pronounced them all well. since Saturday, we have only had the mother and the three Lab looking pups. Unfortunately we still have the white male who barks when ever he's not sleeping. I think he can be heard from one end of our street to the other.

I'm not barking!!!

No, he's not barking in this picture because he's running around outside. He LOVES to be outside and is constantly expanding his universe. If you recall the great escape artist, it was this white male. The pen could no longer keep him so I took it down. With only the three pups, Helen and I can control them outside and the sure like to run around, inspecting everything. Still, they are determined to explore a little more and more each time they go out. They are all too happy to dash into the woods.

Aria...dashing from one place to another.

Not a bucketful, but a handful, at least.

We're making the most of the last few days with a lot of hands-on attention. They really enjoy being outside, but they do well inside if they have the whole kitchen and part of the family room and hall. The thought is that if we give them enough exercise, it will tire them out. It works, but the mouth barks shrilly for awhile after we out him back in the pen.

Helen and I got a new camera yesterday that will, (I hope), allow us to get better pictures of wildlife. It's an 18 megapixel Canon T2i and the above pictures were taken with it. It's considerably more complicated that any camera we've had before, so it'll take us a while to get up to speed.

Finally, I want to thank all my friends for their birthday wishes. Year 67 is done and now I'm going back to 39.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

Another year another birthday. I sit here puzzled that a young man like me could possibly be 67 years old. I mean, I enjoy life more now than I did back then. I feel pretty good, most of the time. The point is that I don't feel old. My father was dead at 62, but he was never an old man. He died very quickly from a brain tumor,but was extremely active until the end. His mental acuity never flagged and he was always a joy to have around.

On the other hand, my mother was always an old lady and always required a lot of care. She was a stout, robust woman but chose to let the family do as much for her as they would. My Dad doted on her and after his passing it fell to my brother. He and my Mom lived in Massachusetts, but my family and I moved to Florida a short time after Dad passed on. My brother tried to please my Mom, but it was an impossible aim. A few years later, Mom moved to Florida about a mile from me and I took over the caretaker role. It wasn't that taking care of her was so difficult, it was that the job was constant. She wanted me over her house to do something or another all the time.

During this time we also had Helen's Mom and my Aunt also living close and we were watching them too. Every Friday night Helen would have all the ladies over to play cards, often after serving them supper. I could hear the squabbling as the older ladies were hard of hearing and the conversations I could overhear were often pure comedy. Helen is a saint.

All of that generation is gone for us, and that has allowed us to get to Canada on four or five occasions, Mexico, Western US, and Alaska. We are like a couple of 30 year olds enjoying the heck out of life. I sure hope it continues.

Then, out of the blue, I consider my sons, 39 and 40. I could hardly be 30 myself. How about my grandchildren, 7 to 22? How about my great granddaughter almost 2? You can see where this is going.

I take great joy in our friends who are a bit older than we are, who still enjoy life with the fervor of 20 year olds. I am elated to see all the people in campgrounds who are MUCH older that we are. On our trip to Alaska we met quite a number of campers who are well into their 80s.

I think it's a case of people who keep doing things, keep going and those who stop doing things just stop. It seems like all of our older friends are looking forward to next year and the year after. I'm the same way. next year we will most likely go back to Atlantic Canada and may go back to Newfoundland. In 2012, if the Mayan calendar is wrong, I want to go back to Alaska.

I've ordered a new camera for Helen so we can get some super wildlife shots and will not have to rely on the generosity of fellow tourists to email us the better pictures. Still young at heart, I have my eye on a few toys for me, also.

I guess I've rambles on long enough. Thank you, my friends, just for being you.


Monday, October 11, 2010

The Great Escape

Those of you who follow my blog recognize the white puppy of the litter. "El Blanco" or should I call him "El Diabalo". Every day Helen and I take the pups outside to play in the pen I made. They all seem to enjoy it and Helen or I will often take a few out to run freely around the yard. Well, El Blanco is not content to stay in the pen. He tries and tries to get out, jumping on all sections of the fence looking for the right spot. Now he has found the spot and it only takes him a moment to scale the fence and escape. Then he runs around the yard with great glee, with Jodie chasing him. Coco and Sandy don't bother him. In fact, both shy away from him, but Jodie really has a good time playing with the little devil. What really drives us crazy is that in the house as well as outside, he BARKS CONSTANTLY in his high pitched voice that can penetrate walls.

We also are having a problem with several puppies. Three of them have a belly rash diagnosed as pyoderma by the vet. The treatment is to apply Betadine several times a day. I sure hope it works as the pups will be going home in less than two weeks.

Helen is being worked to the max as she will not let me take a turn on night watch. I have to have an iron infusion tomorrow and again next week, so Helen doesn't want me to do too much until she feels I'm OK. I can see that the rat race she's in is running her down. She has the pups from pre-dawn 'til late at night, then she gets up in the middle of the night when they want more food or water. I admit that I have no stamina, but I am capable of taking the night shift. I DO get some sleep and I certainly feel well enough to help more than she allows.

I just had to check the pups because it was quiet. All is OK. They're just sated from food and water.

Enough for now.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

More fun than a barrel of Monkeys

what's more fun than a barrel of monkeys? It's a bucket of puppies! We have been taking the puppies outside for some exercise the last few days and they quickly get tired of their usual toys. I put a box in the pen and they were all over it for a short while. However, when I put the bucket in there, it became the center of activity for all the pups.

First there was only one or two inside.

Then there were a few more.

Finally all nine pups were trying to get in the bucket. When it was time to bring them back inside, four pups wouldn't get out, so I carried them inside in the bucket. It was a very easy way to transport four pups at one time.

This is Aria looking about and absorbing everything she sees.

Helen is getting a close up of Aria's brother as he tries to climb up in Helen's lap. The next shot didn't come out as his nose was right on the camera.

This, of course, is Helen making the most of her time with the whole litter. They are growing so rapidly that they need more room to play. That's why we have the outside pen and also why we give them the run of the kitchen. They run and run, chasing toys and each other. We just let them be and after a while they meander back to their pen and fall asleep. Then it gets nice and quiet and Helen and I can clean up. Typical of puppies and the young of most species, the periods of great activity are followed by a prolonged period of sleep. Then we can recharge our batteries.

Later this morning the 10 dogs are going to the vets for their shots. The pups will get their six week shots and the mother will get all her shots now that she's not nursing. A trip to the vet is obviously a two person job.
More later.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Patients and Patience

Some of you know about my recent stay in the hospital. It's is nothing serious and it will soon cease to be a problem. My visit to the ER was unlike any other. Citrus Memorial Hospital us undergoing many changes and a new, larger, improved ER is one of them. I am impressed! This time there were no long lines, no waiting, and I didn't even have to present my insurance cards to be treated.

I'm not sure what time I got in there, but by the time I got to my room it was 2:30 AM, and by then I had received enough saline solution that my blood pressure was back to normal and I felt fine. From the time I entered the hospital until Friday afternoon, I could have nothing, not even a sip of water. They said I shouldn't be thirsty as I was getting all my fluids in the saline solution IV. My mouth was dry but I did feel fine. Friday afternoon they checked out my stomach and said everything was now OK

So Friday afternoon they say I'm OK, but they wouldn't let me go home. They wanted another night. All the while I'm getting 250 ml of saline solution around the clock. And they said I could eat. Well, they really didn't mean "eat" as in something you might actually chew. They meant "eat" as in through a straw. But that was alright, I felt fine. Of course my system was doing a great job of getting rid of all this fluid. In fact, I had so much fluid going in that my blood pressure was elevated.

I'm a thinking person and I thought that if my blood pressure was too low because of lack of fluid, then too much fluid would cause high blood pressure. That seemed logical to me. I talked to the nurse and she had no idea if that were true. In the meantime they were taking my blood pressure every time I fell asleep. Late Friday night they dropped the flow down to 125 ml per hour. My one kidney was processing 230 ml per hour. So as the hours passed my blood pressure fell to normal and stayed there and I was able to talk the nurse into stopping the IV. WHAT A RELIEF not having to drag the stand with the IV to the bathroom all the time. I still felt fine.

Around 9:00 AM Saturday, the Gastro-Intestinal doctor came by to say that everything looked good and I was free to go as soon as the doctor of record signed me out. OH BOY! I feel fine and I'm going home. All I have to do is wait to be signed out. 10:00 passes. 11:00 passes and I still feel fine. It's noon now and I have another meal by straw. I feel fine, but I'm getting antsy. The guy in the next bed is getting antsy. He had his family there to get him the day before and at the last minute the doctor discovered that they hadn't been giving him his heart medicine, so he'd have to stay another day. He also had clearance from his heart doctor, and he was also waiting for the same doctor of record.

1:00 PM and my level of antsyness is reaching a new height. The nurse assures me that the doctor would be coming shortly. I still feel fine, but I'm starting to get mad. The guy in the next be feels the same way and our anger is starting to feed off each other. 2:00 arrives without the doctor and it's time to call Barb, our retires nurse friend. "Can I sign myself out?" I asked. She said I could. Armed with new confidence I accosted the nurse and told her that at 3:00 PM, I was going to sign myself out. She got on the phone to find the doctor. He told her that he was not available and gave her another doctor to call. I feel fine and now my anxiety is going down.

3:00 comes and I'm about climbing the walls. The nurse is trying her best, I suppose. My room mate and I are starting to think that the doctors are making us wait for spite. In a few more minutes I went back in my room and removed the heart monitor and put on my shirt. I wrapped the cables around the transmitter and took it to the nurse and told her that I was signing out. She said OK, but she would have to print out a form for me to sign. I called Helen and I was out. Wow, what a little adrenaline can do for you.

I have to give particular credit to a nurse that took me down for my endoscopy. Prepping my for the procedure, she found that I had about 20 patches on my upper body where I was connected to monitors, EKG, etc. I told her not to worry, I'd take them off under a hot shower. She said that the longer they're on, the harder it is to get them off. Then she said she would take them off when the procedure was finished. I didn't realize what she meant until I got ready to leave the hospital. The only patches I had were the ones being used by the sending unit I wore. She had removed all the other patches while I was still sedated. What a girl!!

This afternoon we met with a couple who are adopting one of the pups. The lab female was already taken so they had their choice of the two males. They chose the white one that has garnered so much attention from my blog readers. They seem to be very nice and I'm sure he will be going to a fine home.

That's all for now and I still feel fine.