Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #193 Birthdays

Maybe you had a special birthday anniversary, or you have a new birthday in the family. Do you celebrate your pet’s birthday? Maybe it’s a birthday of an organization, or of your blog. For this week’s challenge, John wants me to show you what is special to me about birthdays.

First birthdays are special. This is probably more true for the parents. After all most kids, especially first kids have no idea about what the fuss is all about. I was invited to my friend’s grandchild’s first birthday. You can tell who was blowing out the candle! The Birthday piñata added to the fun.

On another “First” birthday, I photographed my grandson’s Smash Cake! At first tentative, then he really got into the spirit of the Smash!

Delicious First Birthday
Here is another way to look at first birthdays!

Party decorations add to the festivities. But with my children, the reaction was often unexpected. I remember that my son was afraid of balloons.

Birthdays over the years.

Death by Chocolate is the name of this image

Birthdays often bring the family together. In the past couple of months, I helped celebrate two important birthday celebrations. In December, my sister-in-law invited us to Southern California to celebrate my brother’s 70th Birthday.

Celebrating with my brothers.

The next very important birthday celebration brought many relatives together. Ed and Leti joined us in Sacramento to help my Israeli cousin’s grandson celebrate his Bar Mitzvah. I knew I have cousins in Israel, but the family lost touch. I last saw my cousin when I was 17 and visiting Israel. Through Ancestry.com, his son located and called me and let me know that he and his family lived close by for this year only.

A solemn occasion for a young man at 13
Wait for me family!
First Cousins
Together again.
Fun times

Now I do celebrate my pet’s birthdays also!

Found this graffiti at the beach. My first dog was named Liberty “Libby”

Last year I celebrated Charlie’s first birthday. Sadly, this was his only birthday.

Charlie’s first birthday

April 30th will be MOXIE’s first birthday. I am starting to get ready. Picked up some special treats. On the lookout for some interesting toys. Just discovered non-toxic peanut-flavored bubbles for dogs. Might be interesting. Thinking of photo elements for her birthday picture. Bows? Signage? What would a smash cake look like? Or better still, how long would it last? Again, like first birthdays she won’t know why all the fuss, but I will have some fun!

Have fun on your next birthday! Let me know how you celebrate it!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #159 Postcards

Ana provides the challenge this week. “I would like to encourage you to participate, in any way you want. You can show us some of your pictures that you would send as postcards to someone you love. Or you can simply share with us images of your favorite places.”

As a child I was a collector of things foreign. I collected coins from around the world. I loved to look at picture postcards. I spent time separating them by subject, or country. In my high school years I lived overseas, and I thought that travel would be a larger part of my life than it turned out to be.

Bee enjoying the flower

In May I thought I would be traveling around the state of California with my Australian Labradoodle Charlie. I’m glad we were able to take a trip to Pacific Grove with Charlie. Sadly, Charlie now plays across the Rainbow Bridge.

When it is very hot here in Northern California, and my friends grab their cameras and head over to Green Acres, a local nursery. My photography friends and I feel welcome to bring our macro lens and take advantage of the great defused lighting. The following would make a great postcard to brighten up someone’s day.

Some of my postcards spell out exactly your vacation destination.

Postcards with amusing animals may find themselves in a mailbox.

These are some of the postcards I would be glad to receive in my mailbox. How about you?

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #185 Changes

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #185 Changes coincidently match my just posted subject about Moxie. John wants us to see what change means to me.

Moxie’s dramatic change from little pup to “almost” full grown.

I started this post over 4 months ago, and life got in the way. In August I expected my grandson to stay with us as he planned to relocate from Tennessee. He stayed with us two days, and he headed back to Knoxville, Tennessee. Refusal of CoVid vaccine, relationship issues, and youth.

Isaac enjoys a homemade waffle, meets Moxie, and leaves for Tennessee, again.

My daughter and family returned to Sacramento after a second try at living in Knoxville. They found an apartment, and as soon as their second house sold in Knoxville the hunt was on for house number three in Tennessee. Sometime in January they will head east. This time they left all their belongings in Tennessee. So that expense is eliminated. I’m not sure what draws them to the “Volunteer State”. Tomorrow I will again say goodbye.

Deja Vu. Or Groundhog Day. This photo was taken in June 2021. Moving to their new home in Tennessee.
Two month old Moxie

So what has kept me so busy that I haven’t posted in a while. Well, I look to my puppy Moxie. Time has a way of disappearing and moving at a snail’s pace. The other day I was making an appointment for a vet visit for Moxie and I kept saying she was almost nine months old. Wrong. She is now eight months old. I work with her daily, and sometimes I see the progress, and sometimes I feel defeat. I am told she is going through the teenage years. Training is ongoing. We go to training once every other week. Manners are being worked on. I am focusing on jumping up on people, and playing rough with me.

For a Golden Retriever, Moxie is a petite pup. She weighs in at 34 lbs. at 8 months. She is about 20 pounds lighter than one of her sisters. I have been dealing with her sensitive stomach, and it seems we have a couple of good weeks, and then I am back to square one. I enrolled in a puppy care club, and when I last tried to make an appointment for her acute tummy issue, the first available time was over three weeks away. As with all things CoVid, I found out that the hours and staff have been reduced due to staffing shortage in veterinarians. This is not adequate care so I will be looking for a new vet. Luckily, I have Golden Retriever friends, and I sought their advice. The “great resignation” attributed to CoVid is shaping our life.

Most puppy owners are shocked by the sharp shark teeth their puppies have. Until Moxie lost her baby teeth (around 5-6 months) I only wore clothes with holes around my pup. These denims kind of look like ones people purchase at fashionable stores. I now do not have to change before I play with my puppy.

At 5 months Moxie has lost her shark teeth.

CoVid caused many supply glitches. I have a small backyard, and two fences were down. Lumber prices rose dramatically. By the beginning of November my yard was fully enclosed. Lucky thing because my next door neighbor just got an adorable black lab. Perhaps a future playmate for Moxie.

Fully fenced, but not entirely safe for my puppy to romp around without harm.

Moxie is always on the lookout for something to eat.

This fall my neighbor’s oak tree hand an abundance of acorns that are toxic for puppies to chew. This along with a pine tree that continues to shower my lawn with needles makes for an unsafe environment for a curious puppy. So each morning a pick up acorns and a variety of mushrooms that appear out of nowhere each morning. So I am always on the lookout. Unfortunately, on Thanksgiving Moxie was too fast and ate a mushroom.

Mushrooms come in such a variety, and none should be consumed by my puppy Moxie.

On the way to the emergency room most of the contents of her stomach ended up on my backseat. Thank goodness my seats were covered.

Moxie is safely harnessed in the back seat. Most of the time she is not interested in the surroundings. Go figure.

There was only one vet at the emergency hospital and the parking lot was filling up. Puppy is ok. And I did make it to Thanksgiving dinner hosted by my friend Anne.

Well at least Moxie ate her mushroom early, and we arrived at 9:00 am. We were able to avoid the crowd.
After her ordeal, all she wanted to do is sleep in my lap. We often get some quiet time and a nap on the Lazy Boy recliner.

CoVid has taken the spontaneity out of life. No quick decision to go to the zoo. Now you must go online to make a reservation. I am waiting at Kaiser because to visit the optical department an appointment is needed. I need new glasses because Moxie chewed up my glasses. To be CoVid safe I make an appointment and wait my turn.

Next week my girl will be 10 months old. When I see her mother Phoebe they look so much alike. Moxie is at her adult size, almost. Puppies grow so very fast. I am glad I took all these photos along the way.

My husband and I quickly made the choice of Moxie for my puppy’s name. Many have asked the origin of the name. My in-laws had an advertisement for this drink in their kitchen. Recently, my husband brought home a bottle of Moxie.

Where we got the name “Moxie”

This is the second time around with puppy raising in the past two years, and I still am amazed at how quickly the tiny puppy grows to adult size. Glad I took all these photos. Change happens fast, and I am glad I grabbed some of these shots using my iPhone 8 instead of relying on my Fuji xt4. I plan to upgrade my iPhone since much has improved in the last couple of years. I’m looking at the iPhone 13 pro. I just need to make an appointment. The display on my Nixplay frame brings me a lot of joy. If you are thinking of getting one and have questions I’m happy to help.

This is my New Year’s Eve photograph. She has changed so much in these first 8 months.

Moxie at 8 months

I think things may calm down in 2022, or at least I hope so. Stay tuned for my continuing adventures with Moxie.

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!