Some Sad News. Followed by some Happy News.

Charlie ended his short life last week. It was sudden. It was very unexpected. I was totally blindsided. This little puppy was finally becoming a trustworthy dog. If you have been following along on our journey you know that he was my special little pup. Coming to me during the CoVid quarantine really bonded us. He was not so comfortable with the outside world, and being aware of this I worked doubly hard to share many different experiences with him.

I hoped to have a dog that would be able to share my world, and so he needed to get used to riding in the car. Short trips, and then longer times accomplished this. He loved his car. Not so much getting out of the car. He was always happier to get back into the car. And he could spot the car in a parking lot full of cars.

Such a beautiful boy

I wanted a dog that would accompany me on walks. He walked with me to the mailbox every afternoon. He knew the words, waited till I got the keys, and attached his Easy Walker Harness. A dog lives near the mailbox, and Charlie always got excited to see this barking dog. But his training was paying off, and I would tell him to sit while I opened the box. Sometimes he would see some of our neighbors and wag, and play the “Don’t touch me” game. That was getting better.

Well, he never wanted to walk past our court. I really don’t know why. So if I wanted to get a walk in we would hop in the car, and go find a park path to follow. Most of the time we did ok. It wasn’t a given that my anxious dog would be happy along the path. Bikes and scooters stressed him. And once he saw that we were headed back to the car he was in full pull mode. That I would not allow, and so we often had to stop until the leash loosened up.

First puppy haircut.

New to me was the process of grooming. Every evening Charlie would get on his grooming table after being enticed with 2 pieces of kibble. I was slowly getting all the supplies needed to start doing a full groom myself. CoVid disrupted the supply chain and I finally got the clippers I wanted in May. Yesterday I spent boxing and returning all the items I no longer need.

Charlie at 1 yr old.

Last winter Charlie visited Lake Tahoe. There was snow on the ground, and he would dig and put his face in the cold snow.

Charlie in the snow at Lake Tahoe

Two weeks ago I took my dog on a vacation to Pacific Grove. It was my first ever time to take a pet on vacation. I am so glad to have had that memory. He absolutely enjoyed the beach. His tail was flying high as he dug into the sand. Then he placed his face in it. I will alway have that to remember. I brought along a pop-up playpen and he went right to sleep for the night.

My happy Charlie
Digging away!
A mouthful of sand!
Visiting Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey

I was proud at his progress, and I was beginning to see him start to adjust to the world. Starting at 4 months his skin rash would be infected. Under veterinary care antibiotics cleared it up. But it would return. Allergy was suspected. So when this happened a third time, Charlie started seeing an animal dermatologist. A strict diet was adhered to, and I started dehydrating treats for him also. After culturing the skin site the vet said that the staph infection would not respond to regular antibiotics. We tried a bleach treatment, and the staph infection spread. So the next step was a stronger antibiotic. Now we did a blood test, and repeated it 2 weeks later. The liver enzyme increased. The staph infection was gone, and the medication was discontinued. But over Memorial Day weekend Charlie stopped eating. On Tuesday his vet admitted Charlie into an iCU hospital. His liver was failing. And on my birthday I said goodbye.

This was a very hard blog to write. I have many photographs of Charlie, but I know that there should have been many, many, many more years together.

Well, Charlie must have some special pull, and he knew how much he would be missed. He knew I was a good dog mama. Just before we went to Pacific Grove my neighbor invited me in to see her litter of Golden Retriever puppies. All the time at Pacific Grove I was thinking maybe Charlie would like a sibling. But I put that out of my mind. On Thursday June 3rd my husband and I went over to see the 5 week old pups, and Moxie will be joining our family in two weeks. Phoebe and Bailey have 9 pups, and my neighbors are happy that they will be able to see her grow up in the neighborhood. The bonding process is starting because she has visited her new home twice. So puppyhood starts again.

A puppy pile of Goldens
Present Moxie!
Moxie comes to visit
I get a visit from Moxie at 5 weeks

I guess you can expect many new puppy photographs!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #150 Let’s Get Wild

For this week’s Lens-Artists Photography Challenge, let’s get wild!  Dianne is talking about Mother Nature untouched and untrammelled, allowed to get on with her work without human help or hindrance.

Looking through my images I am more inclined to capture images with human interactions. My travels haven’t taken me far from home.

Squirrels take up residence in the trees.
And a dragonfly lands on a bush in my backyard!

I did manage to take a trip to the Island of Kauai with some of my photo friends.

Beautiful Kauai
Nene, official Hawaiian bird
Turkeys strutting their stuff
An Egret returning to the nest
Youngsters following along!
A wild discovery at Effie Yeaw Nature Center in Carmichael, Ca.
Finding nectar in the wilds of Kauai
Northern California coastal fog

Sorry, this wild blog may seem a bit scattered. My very special doodle, Charlie is in the hospital. His liver is not working to its best. The doctors are trying to figure this out. HIs numbers are quite unexpected for a such a young dog. Think good thoughts that Charlie will be home with me soon. We have never been apart.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge 148 Spots and Dots

This week the challenge takes me into my abstract/design library of images. Leya asks us to, “recognize and enjoy the different interpretations, meanings and importance of these two little words. Spots and Dots. Because even if they are small…they can make a big difference.”

As a photographer I am always looking for repetition. Here are some dots I spotted.

Can you guess what these are?

This is a swingin’ Hot spot, maybe?

Blu Nightclub inside MontBleau Resort in Lake Tahoe.

Now spots can be thought of as a favorite spot. This coming week I am going on my first trip since CoVid. It is our 50 + 1 anniversary. Last year, well you know, there was not much of a celebration, and it was supposed to be our BIG one. Pacific Grove has been our “spot” for over twenty years. This year will be a bit different. It is also our first vacation with a dog. Charlie is in for an adventure.

Here is my boy Charlie at 15 months

In preparation, I have been taking him out with me to stores, and parks. Yesterday, my grandson Lucas played tee ball. I brought Charlie to the game. He was a bit overstimulated at first. I remained, and after a while he started to relax. I gave out treats to those watching the game to give to Charlie. And he took advantage. The day before in Lowe’s he wouldn’t take a treat. Slow progress.

These are some of the images I grabbed during our last time in Pacific Grove in 2019.

On our way to Pacific Grove we stop and get some Bing Cherries
Lover’s Point
Monterey Bay
Asilomar State Beach

Seafood is on the menu! But we will see how well Charlie deals with all the excitement.

Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey

These are natural occuring spots.

Sometimes, as a photographer you are just in the right spot at the right time!

Taken from the Tower Bridge during a dry lightening storm.

That is all for this photo challenge. Need to get ready to go on a short vacation. Do I even remember how to pack?

The Misadventures of Subi Blue / Thanks Costco

Last week my husband and I made the trip south to visit my family for the High Holidays. In preparation for the 8 hour trip, and the upcoming rainy season we bought 4 new tires for my Subaru Outback. This two year old car has about 32,000 miles and I guess the tires wear out quicker in the hot Sacramento sun.

Trip down was uneventful, but lengthy. We usually stop a Pea Soup Andersen’s and we almost missed it. Needed to be on I-5 and not 99S.

Pea Soup Andersen’s

Traveling through Los Angeles and into Orange County the traffic is unbelievable. Looking at all the single drivers I can’t imagine commuting daily to work. Listening to the traffic every 10 minutes there didn’t appear to be any freeway that way flowing. Accidents, cars on fire, people being airlifted, and more accidents. Lots of distracted drivers in the bumper-to-bumper parking lot. I just didn’t want to be one of them, and we weren’t. Yah!

This trip was planned as a time with family. Visiting with Ed and Leti in Laguna Nigel, we met up with my niece and nephew for dinner in Long Beach. On the way we stopped in Winchester at the Art Supply Warehouse. Leti takes art classes and wanted to get some supplies since we were close by. I have been looking all over for turquoise fountain pen ink for my Parker pen. And there it was.

Mural outside of Art Supply Warehouse

My nephew works for Swift, a subscription computer ap for cycling. Interesting tour of the inner workings of this business. Wonderful view of the city from high above Long Beach.

Arrived as sun was setting.
Amazing view of Long Beach

The star of the evening was meeting my very cute great niece Sidney. See for yourself.

Sidney kept removing her bow. Mom put it back on.

The next day our tour guide, Ed took us to Laguna Beach. Enjoyed the nice weather, and I got some photo time.

Love the sound of waves crashing.
Plein Air artist
Artistic bench. We did lock eyes!
The letter M
Selfie
Cacti and Bouganvilla contrasted
World Trade Center Memorial

Dinner was served at a Persian restaurant Darya. Great meal, and a delayed birthday cake surprise! Belly dancer entertained us tonight. Sorry, I couldn’t figure out how to import a short video clip. So I used Luminar to enhance this photo.

Fantastic belly dancer

Dinner preparation started, and continued for the next two days. The only boxed ingredients was my wide noodles, otherwise recipes were created from scratch. I made Apple Lochen Kugel, and Leti cooked, and cooked, and cooked. Traditions between Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews are quite different. Plenty of discussion about gefilte fish.

Giving us the fish eye. There is areason we needed the eye of the fish and no tail.

I guess, it may an aquired taste. I’m not fussy so everything was delicious.

Ok. So did I start this blog with Subi Blue and Costco? Took off at 8:45 am to miss the main commuter traffic into LA. But as soon as we got to Grapevine a light came on to let us know there was a problem with the tires. Our new tires. Found a gas station, checked the air and put in some. Light goes out, great. Light comes back on in about 45 minutes (about 60 miles later). Find another gas station, and more air in tire. Now we decide to look for a Costco. Using my iPhone directions we head to Hanford, Ca. Driving down roads in the middle of no where we drive about two hours. Passing places and towns, agriculture and desert sand. Of course we still needed to stop to replace lost air. Corcoran, Ca. has a gas station and we continue.

Subi Blue in Corcoran, Ca.

Arrive in Hanford. Plenty of cows, but we are not stopping for pictures. Mooo! Looking for East Lacey Blvd, and arrive at the destination according to my phone and it is a field. Can’t find Costco. Air is now leeking out faster. We stop at Wyndam in Visalia and get directions to Costco in Visalia. Guess we blew past Hanford!

Now is desperate need of air, we stop at another gas station, but the air pump is out of order. More directions, and finally arrive at Costco in another 15 minutes. Worried we might be driving on the wheel. Luckily there was one tire left in our size. Two hour delay where we dined on the usual Costco hot dog meal. With sourkraut. Thanks Anne. Replaced with same type tire at no charge, (road hazard warranty!), gassed up and we were ready to go. Thanks Costco and Ernie R. for getting us on the road so quickly.

Arrived home at 10:45 pm.

I haven’t left my house since Monday. So glad to be home.