Another Milestone

Last week my granddaughter Alyssa graduated from Casa Robles High School. As a senior she really looked forward to all the traditions. With the end of the third semester all graduation requirements had been completed, and then all schools in the state of California closed for the rest of the year. CoVid 19 put a halt to all plans. There would be no prom, no parties, no walk across the stage to accept her diploma.

Mother and daughter
Here is Alyssa at six with her mother graduating American River College

Alyssa visited her family in Orangevale. She has been staying in Turlock for the past couple of weeks since this pandemic stay at home orders. After picking up her cap & gown and diploma holder we made arrangements to photograph her at a park. Armed with my Fuji xt2 and 80mm f2.8, and Alyssa’s bright smile the photo shoot went smoothly. Many good images to choose from in the short time we had together. Of course the photographs engendered a typical self-critical reaction from the one being photographed. Lucas came along and found the nature trail full of insects to capture in his insect habitat.

Alyssa walks across the bridge at a park across from Casa Robles High School
Brother Lucas following his sister on the nature trail

The parents of Casa decided that some show of celebration was needed. Graduating seniors woke up to Congratulation signs planted on their front lawns. Then a flyer sent to families told of a parade being organized at the local mall that is now shut. So on Friday night my husband, myself, and Charlie parked in the shade and waited. What followed was a fun celebration for the seniors. Cars decorated by the seniors paraded around the perimeter. A DJ announced each name alphabetically. Online the DJ stopped most cars and asked the senior’s name, favorite teacher, and time to give a shout out. Unfortunately, this was not done for every senior who wanted it. It seemed that a good time was had by all.

While Alyssa was selecting her favorite images I spoke to her about her future plans. After spending many months away from her family I impressed upon her the benefits of accepting her mother’s offer to live home until her plans take shape. I am sad that she does not see this as a positive step for her future. I can only hope that she makes good decisions. As I am writing this post I had a chance to look over all 1400 digital images I have taken of Alyssa over the years. Wow. So much time I spent capturing her growth from baby to high school graduate. She has all the future in front of her! Good Luck!

Class of 2020 attitude!

Six weeks with my doodle!

I have been living with Charlie for 6 weeks. He is now 13 weeks old. At 3 months this little guy is showing us his smarts.

I want to remember when he fit under the chair. This is where is settles when we are eating. I may change this to his “place” when he stops destroying beds.

The last time I trained a puppy was ten years ago. At that time I enrolled my puppy in classes at Pet Smart. She started at ten weeks. My Labrador Retriever crate trained and potty trained easily. With CoVid 19 training and socialization is on hold. My breeder Jo at Serenity Springs Labradoodles sent out emails with tips to prepare me for my new puppy. So I rely on what I remember and my updated reading and YouTube training sessions. I purchased Training the Best Dog Ever: A 5-week program using the Power of Positive Reinforcement. I found much information is found on the Internet, and most are in agreement. Zak George (Dog Training Revolution/Pupford), Rachel Fusaro (Save all the damn dogs), and Ian Stone (Simpawtico). Consistency, patience, and positivity. I also joined the online group, Doodle Kisses, and am getting support on the Forum.

Charlie loves his Wubba Bear Friend. This one remains in one piece. His Ultra-strong Kong Elephant immediately lost its tusks, and I needed to amputate the remaining bit of tusk. The ears are on the way out.

This week I have seen real progress in our day to day living. For one thing, potty training is progressing nicely. Not going through as many rolls of Bounty. My mother collected South East Asian bells. I hung some up on my slider and Charlie now rings the bell when he wants to go out to potty. We are getting the message! Just have to make sure to come inside before playtime. Then we go out again. Well sometimes there are false alarms, but better to go out than ignore.

After he rings the bell he often heads to his very large bed/playground near the door.

In the past few weeks I have worked on some basic commands. Of course, all these commands are being tried in various rooms in the house, but not under many conditions. Sit, Down, Off (no jumping), Leave It, Look at me, Come, Give, Go Potty, Go to your room (crate), Bed (place), Paw, Gentle, and Settle, and I am working of Stay. I think that is it.

“Charlie, Look at me!”

Today is Mother’s Day, and my puppy Charlie ordered me a tee shirt. Can’t wait to wear it in his honor.

My daughter and family stopped by this morning. Brought me some homemade cupcakes from two mini bakers. I will enjoy this with dinner tonight. CoVid 19 stay at home directives have left Charlie to interact with me and my husband. Today, all at once he had three boys ages 2, 4, and 8 all surrounding him. At first he wanted to go back to the house. I held him and introduced my grandsons. He met my son-in-law and daughter and had some “real-time petting”. After a short while, he was on the ground, wagging his tail and giving puppy kisses. In the six weeks he is making progress and getting over his shyness with new experiences. 

Shopping for groceries the CoVid way, online is becoming easier. Now there are more time slots for order pickup. A few weeks ago, I needed to place an order with Bel Air, and expect to pick up groceries in a week. Yesterday I placed my order and today most everything was delivered to my car. I am getting into the routine. Items that I can’t get at a grocery store I order from Target. Their website is a bit different, but I figured it out, and I can pick up my order within 4 hours. This is the new normal.

One thing that most puppy preparation books forget to include are bandaids. Oh my goodness. Those shark teeth have been getting me lately. And it is not from nipping or biting per se. Charlie got me good while we were having a fun game of fetch. I almost always say “Give” and wait for the ball to be dropped. This time our signals were crossed and he grabbed the ball as I was about to throw it, (ready, set, go), and sliced into my finger. Wow. Blood pouring out. This required two bandaids one on top of the other! Now I am sporting 4 bandaids. Numerous scratches, cuts, and nibbles are now healing. Once stores are open for shoppers I will recommend bandaids be sold at pet stores. Maybe a line of cute bandaids for new puppy owners should be designed! Sending ideas out for the creative entrepreneurs.

This week Charlie heads to Sunset VCA for his second visit. With safety in mind, once we park we call inside and a Vet Tech comes to get Charlie. I remain in the car. Keeping “Socially Distant” and safe. I wonder what I would do without wifi and cell phones. Thoughts for another time.

Quarantine – A Procrastinators Dream!

In California March 20th was the start of statewide lockdown. Self quarantine was advised for those over 65 earlier in the month. Using a calendar it comes to about 8 weeks since I have had any face to face interaction outside of my home.

I think it was March 7th when I last babysat my grandchildren. It was supposed to be the start of my grandsons’ baseball season. Now I don’t remember if it was called off due to rain, or the start of the novel coronavirus restrictions. But it was my son-in-laws birthday and my daughter wanted to celebrate sans kidos. Baby Colton slept through the event at 5 weeks old. The three boys – Eli (8), Lucas (4), and Wyatt (2) all dined in and everyone was entertained. Little did we know the extent that life would change so quickly.

David and I had already determined that we would postpone our 10 trip to NYC. On March 14th we drove to Orland, Ca. to visit Serenity Springs Labradoodles, and without touching and being sure to sanitize were selected our puppy Charlie now 5 weeks old. Powered by Purell Hand Sanitizer and gloves we did make one stop for fast food. We were the only ones eating out.

With a push to ready our house for the puppy, the Internet became our lifeline to online shopping. I made two trips to the stores to shop for groceries. Again, I had gloves and hand sanitizer. Thinking ahead, I looked for items that would help in the long run. This was before the supermarket run on some items. Toilet paper was being limited in Costco to two, Purell was limited to 6, and I bought some extra Bounty (needed for puppy plans). But at least the stores were fully stocked. I also planned to have some items on hand for desserts. I figured, if we were staying home we would need the extra sustenance. And some wine!

Otherwise with no where to go we slept in. Plenty of telephone calls to family and friends. Plenty of time watching television. The calendar and the watch reminded me to time passing. But my plans to organize the garage fell into the procrastinating bin. Maybe tomorrow. There doesn’t seem to be much daily change. Until I look at a calendar.

What time is it? Does it matter when in quarantine?

Thinking about time, and what it means. Pulled out these images I collected over the years.

So for the procrastinator does quarantine life give you permission to take it slow and not be moved by the clock? And after we return to an open for business time will time fly?

Does having more time means accomplishing more?

CoVid19 means that I am homebound. There is nowhere to go and stay safe for everyone. So I stay home. At first, I tackled each day with a purpose. Using recipes that call for more time. Adding some baking to my repertoire. Reorganizing my rooms. Catching up with all those piles of stuff. I took this time at home as a challenge to work on my hobbies of quilting, photography, and genealogy. But then Charlie came into my life.

My latest involvement has been puppy training. After being in the home for two weeks, he and I are developing a rhythm. The past two nights he has slept through to breakfast. Ok. It is his breakfast time, 5:30 a.m. – 6:00 a.m. But I’ll take it. So the day starts earlier than I am used to. My goal of getting to bed at around midnight is working, but I still can’t seem to want to eat that early.

Charlie takes three longer naps during the day. If it was up to him they would all take place hugging my foot ensconced slipper. Sometimes I slip out and leave the slipper. This doesn’t fool Charlie much. Nothing more pathetic than a puppy crying for me, and I am just down the hall. Got to shake this soon.

Crate training has taken longer with Charlie than with my Libby. After two weeks he readily goes into his “Room” around mealtime. A food-filled Kong can keep him occupied for the moment. But when food is gone Charlie wants out. It starts with a small whine, then some digging, and yapping. I give Charlie the “shush” signal, and when he quiets I let him out. I am making slow progress. I plan to talk to some friends who have had more experience raising different pups.

So I am trained to have eagle eyes and watch for all house training signals. In and out we go to the potty, and back out again. Most of the time he gets with the program. Sometimes we miss the signal, a subtle look. I just added a string of bells, and I am teaching Charlie to ring the bells. Sometimes when Charlie is busy my macro lens finds other things to focus on.

We picked the last of our oranges. Here is the start of next year’s crop.

Each area of the house is a new adventure for Charlie. His approach is very cautious. Outside Charlie is calmly able to explore.

Today, he even watched me go inside, and chose to continue chomping on a twig. He deals with the front of the house differently. The Corona Virus has hindered his socialization. I have taken him out front and from a distance my neighbors have met him. I am holding Charlie, he watches, but there are no tail wags for strangers.

Charlie’s finds plenty of distractions outdoors

The past two days the new experience has been riding in the car. Our 2-hour ride home from Serenity Springs Labradoodles ended with Charlie’s breakfast all over me. So for these two short trips I decided to feed him when we returned. Yesterday we drove to my daughter’s house and showed my grandsons the new pup. Charlie was stressed out, and after lunch took a long nap. Today we picked up our online nursery shopping at Green Acres Nursery. The order went in a couple of days ago, and I got the call to pick up our vegetables this afternoon. This time I brought some water for Charlie, and I think he felt comfortable enough to sleep. Not too interested in looking out the window yet.

My husband planted 5 types of tomatoes, 1 pepper, 1 two-toned squash, and 1 eggplant.

My Citronella Plant is in bloom
Queen’s Tears from the Bromeliad family

Charlie’s nature is to remain cautious with new experiences. Staying home works with my nature as well. I like a peaceful environment, sunny days outdoors in my backyard, and a relaxing agenda. I like to focus on one thing at a time. And with a new puppy that is about all that I can accomplish. So I will set my site on that and call it a day fulfilled. The garage can wait, the quilting can wait, and the piles of stuff will remain in neat piles. And that is all for now.

Well, not exactly. The answer to my question is not really! Hey, but that is life. What is your take on the subject?