On The Blackwater

Musing on retirement, writing, puppies, and whatever else strikes my fancy

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Spending my life in 20-year increments: DC, Calif, Maine, & now in the BlueRidge Mountains of VA, where my YoChon, Sadie Mae, has started to blog...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas is coming!

Well, just a few days until Christmas. And one of our 16 grandchildren seems a bit disappointed in us, although his father, my son Mike, & his wife Jennifer are both delighted. Here's what we did.

The Roanoke Times ran a big story about Heifer International. I went to the site & ordered baby chicks to be sent to four destitute families in, say, Africa. HI will send the chicks & provide assistance in the form of showing the families how to care for, feed & raise the chicks so they'll have eggs, chickens, more eggs for themselves as well as other families in their village.

Folks can also donate honey bees, goats, even a cow. In fact, classes of children have been known to raise funds to buy a cow for a village.

As I said, my son was delighted. But his boys want to know when their chicks will arrive...at their home in Montana! Ooops. I e-mailed their Dad; time for more explanation of this gift. If I'd ordered earlier, I could have gotten HI's beautiful gift card to send on to the four families, but I only had time for their e-card.

Next year, I will start earlier. Imagine being able to feed a family, or a village, with a relatively small donation, instead of running around, shopping for something that may not fit or may not be suitable, or may go right back into the box to be exchanged, as well as wrapping it and mailing it out. The other family members are a bit older; recent college graduate on down to teens, and they get it.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Puppy Days & Nights

Well, haven't blogged for awhile...busy times now, with Christmas near & lots of get-togethers. Dick's Ham Radio Club meets tonight for their annual dinner. Last night was our church music director's wonderful open house...she decorates their Victorian house better than Martha Stewart ever thought of doing! And her husband, the cook, puts together a veritable feast. Their two young daughters get to help placing foods on platters & putting them on the groaning table.

It feels so good, not only to visit such good friends, but to not have to plan, shop for, and cook a meal night after night. Of course, I'll need a whole new XXX wardrobe if this goes on much longer.

Last night, there were chocolate covered balls of peanut butter filling the size of golf balls. Might as well just apply them directly to each hip. And avocado & spinach dip. OK, OK, don't need to go into all this, right?

The puppies stayed here at home; they aren't old enough yet to socialize. Chrissie, their poodle-mix, would have loved to entertain Sadie Mae, but I suspect Miss Sadie would have gone into her zoom, zoom routine, which would not be a good plan in unfamiliar territory.

She began her Click! training yesterday, and today had great success with the COME command. I say Come, she spins her head around & RUNS toward me as I click the clicker, then I give her a tiny pea-sized piece of chicken breast. Whew! Finally a way to keep her from running in the opposite direction, into the dried leaves in the woods, or, as she did Sunday, down the hill towards the Blackwater River.

Remington, the chocolate Lab puppy, stays in his pen during these warm days. Dick depends on his deep voice & commanding presence to train R, but if the clicker training continues to go well, who knows?

My book: When Men Move to the Basement is going well. Phyllis Lavinder gave me a nice check Sunday from her sales at From the Heart in Rocky Mount. On Saturday, January 27th, Ibby Greer will hold a reading for me at her new/former location of The Blue Lady Bookshop, time to be established. And sometime after the first of the year, I'll be reading to a group of Smith Mountain Lake residents at P.D. & Mittie Hambrick's home.

Bruce Rae, who illustrated my book, will be in attendance as well, hopefully at both readings.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Computer up & running again

Well, here I am again, after being offline for weeks. First, Sadie Mae chewed some of my computer cords (fortunately NOT the power cord, or she wouldn't be here to tell about it!).

I had to take my computer in to the shop three times before they found it needed a new hard drive. They'd get it up & running, & I'd get it home, plug it in...nada!

Now, hubby installed a 'wall' of sorts to give Sadie Mae the cave she is searching for, without any cords to mutilate. Ah, puppies~

We also have yet another pup. I'll get a picture to post on here soon. Remington is a choc Lab just one week younger than Sadie Mae. They chase each other...zoom, zoom, zoom!...across the lawn, around the house, or if the weather is inclement, IN the house, under the furniture, behind the couch...zoom, zoom, zoom. Sadie's ears fly back from her rapid motion. Remington starts by crouching & looking her dead-on in the eyeballs, then: Chaos! Off they go.

They do this at least once a day. I think it's Sadie's way of using up her excess (terrier) energy. She drops down totally flat, pink tongue hanging out, grinning. Then it's time for a puppy nap.

Charles Shultz was SO right...happiness is a warm puppy.