Lens-Artists Challenge #135 A Glimpse into Your World

Over the past year, I followed many photographers as they shared amazing images. I decided that for me to grow I would need to open myself up to this experience. So this week I accepted Sheetal’s challenge to, “Show us the things you love that make your world spin or things about your world that make you delirious with joy.”

Charlie has captured my heart. My Australian Labradoodle just celebrated his first birthday. My life has revolved around this boy, and the bond is strong. The day starts when he says it does. He quietly calls out to me that he is awake. With his collar on, we head to his round bed where we snuggle for a time. Then out for our short walk in our court. Six houses and I take in the changes from day to day. Occasionally, we greet a neighbor or see a jogger. Then home to have breakfast. With no plans for the day, we settle on the couch, catch up on emails and take a morning nap together. I am the person who trains and cares for Charlie’s needs. We take a walk and play fetch. We have one training session a day, one game of “Find It!”, and one grooming session after dinner. Some indoor fetch and he settles while my husband and I watch television. Charlie has found a place in my husband’s heart. When I am away, Charlie keeps him company. Charlie is a people magnet. I just hope that he soon becomes more relaxed being out and about with me and my camera.

Charlie has us wrapped around his paws. Discovering each other, training together, and becoming part of the family.

This litter of 10 adorable Australian Labradoodles is 1 year old (put together by Jo)

Camera in hand, looking out at the world makes me happy. What I capture in the frame just depends on what catches my eye at the time. Small objects, funny signs, colors or shapes, patterns, contradictory images, animal and people expressions, and the people busy doing things. I don’t see myself stuck on one subject. My only limits are what kind of lens I can carry, and I usually only carry two. My camera has an added value in my life by connecting me to wonderful photo friends.

Amusing signs

The pandemic has slowed down life, and I try and appreciate this new pace of life. One day, one goal. Thinking back over the decades I now wonder how I kept up that frenetic pace. I am home with my husband that I have known now for 54 years. We take turns arguing with the television over the news coverage. We share opinions on how to fix the world, if only they would listen. We read the newspaper and find books to read on our iPads. We play Scrabble, and figure out what we want to eat for dinner. It is a serene existence. We talk about what we want to do after “the pandemic”, and when will life return to normal. Actually, we also discuss what that normal will look like. Hopefully, eating out, traveling both near and far, and feeling less restricted to be around people. I look forward to new adventures with my husband and my Charlie.

I am taking the first step in sharing with the Lens-Artists. This is my new challenge, and I hope that I will be able to meet it!

Be careful not to bite the hand that feeds you!

This is never truer than when you are home with a 10-week old puppy. Charlie has little, tiny shark teeth. When he is awake his mouth is always busy. Being a multi-gen Australian Labradoodle Charlie takes after the Lab side and is always up for eating! But as his owner, I am not going to be lunch.

Right away I knew that I did not have enough toys to keep Charlie busy. I went online and ordered some toys to fetch and some chew toys. I didn’t remember my last dog playing with many toys. I know there were many destroyed toys. I also forgot how small puppy mouths are. I think I did pretty well with my picks. So if you are adding a puppy these are my suggestions.

Kong Squeak Air balls size x small. They come 3 to a pack. I use two at a time. Throw one. Ready, set, go! And when Charlie retrieves one, I throw the other one. Endless energy released!

JW Hol-EE ball is a great toy for inside fetch. Quiet, and easy for a puppy to grab. It can also be used as a tug toy, or food dispenser when the treats are larger. This ball comes in a variety of sizes, and is easy to catch.

Kong Wubba – Puppy version has proved to be a keeper. Good to chew on, toss, and tug.

Kong Classic Puppy version. Made in USA! Can be stuffed. It’s chewable. When tossed it randomly bounces. Did I say it is made in the USA!

Kong Squeezz Dumbbell is easy to chew, bounces and squeaks. Fun.

Nylabone teething puppy chew. Again made in the USA. Chicken flavor and gentle chewing style. This one lasted about 3 weeks, and then Charlie began making headway and pieces came off.

Nylabone Puppy Teething Pacifier Flexible Chew toy has kept up with Charlie’s chewing abilities. Nice different textures.

Kong Cozies Alligator Toy has a squeaker, and Charlie finds different parts to chew. I am also looking at some of the Kong plush with knots for stuffing. So far his tiny shark teeth have not penetrated the alligator.

Charlie with his Alligator and Teething Ring Pacifier/Bone

Libby loved the Jolly Egg toys. She could amuse herself and tire herself out with these toys. Hard plastic ball or Egg-shaped that she would knock around with her paws. The irregular shape caused the egg to spin around randomly. Charlie is just frustrated with this and barks at the toy while trying to grab it with his mouth. Maybe later he will appreciate it.

At least this Jolly Toy could be grabbed by Charlie.

Serenity Springs sent Charlie home with some toys, blanket, and bed with littermates scent on them. His Snuggle Puppy has a heartbeat, and a warm pack. This is in his crate with him at night. I can’t tell if he feels safe with his Snuggle Puppy or because his crate is next to my bed. Probably, the later. This puppy crate is smaller, plastic and he took to it instantly. For the last two nights Charlie has led me into the bedroom when it was time to go to sleep!

Charlie is getting more charming by the day!

Don’t bite the hand that feeds you can have more than this literal meaning. Right? But not to an 11 week old pup! Lucky he is so cute!

So much happening, so many decisions to make

When last I sat down my grandson Baby Colton arrived, and a week later my puppy-to-be made an appearance.

Three weeks later and much has happened. My 22-year-old grandson visited us for one week in February.

Sacramento Metropolitan Airport public sculpture. I see my red Samsonite!

I haven’t seen him in two years, and the visit ended with him saying, “Best vacation ever!” Not that he has taken many vacations in his short working life. It seems like for being on his own he is doing well. But there were a few details that needed to be addressed. Haircut, eyeglasses, cell phone upgrade, and work clothes set the stage for a busy week.

One thing I have to say about this guy is that he is a foodie. Straight away he planned to eat his way through Sacramento. Straight from the airport, we head to his favorite Fish and Chips place. Interestingly enough, the owners remember him. I guess he frequented this establishment when he lived close by. For dessert, I visited Icicles. Curled up icecream created right before your eyes.

Delicious. Never knew this existed. I plan to visit again.

After taking care of all those details, we planned a day out of town. At first we wanted to go to San Francisco to meet up wtih my son and family. With everyone having a different schedule this was difficult to arrange, and so we went with plan B. Headed east with Reno being our destination. This is the first February where we didn’t have a drop of rain. Weather is just lovely, but I am starting to hear talk of drought again.

First stop, Donner Summit. Checked out Donner Lake. I tried to imagine the Donner Party stuck here.

It was the end of February and there was no snow around.

My two guys!
Some fishermen getting ready to cast their lines.
Another tourist from the Sacramento area. Love the colorful sari.

Searched for a open restroom. Didn’t know this was a seasonal condition. LOL!

We visited the Donner Memorial State Park Visitor Center with a very nice restroom.

We continue on to Reno and arrived about lunchtime. Headed for miles of food buffet.

Buffet at the El Dorado Casino

My grandson first took a look at the miles of desserts.

Miles of tempting desserts

He then placed his drink order. He has a unique way of ordering his meal items. But he does it with a pleasant demeanor and the servers try to oblige him.

We walked around Circus Circus, but no performances to view. We checked out the arcade. We needed to walk off that meal!

Tried our hand at 25 cent poker machine, and quick when we were ahead. Winner of $0.55. It was nice sitting and talking while we tried to beat the machine.

Argggh!

Thanksgiving in February with all the trimmings, except pumpkin pie. My grandson requested this holiday meal back in November so I kept a turkey in the freezer for this occasion. He remembered that I usually put walnuts in my stuffing. Not this time. Oh well. I liked the fact that I didn’t have to cook for a couple of days afterward.

Been paying close attention to the upcoming presidential race in November. California moved up the primary vote, and Super Tuesday came and went. No further comment here. I just hope, upon hope that our next president will be someone other that our current ____. You fill in the blank. Decisions, decisions, but not the greatest of choices.

My grandson headed back to Knoxville, and we focused on our upcoming trip to New York City. Then the news of coronavirus ramped up. Decisions, pro/con. After much discussion, we decided that New York City will be there, and we would postpone our trip. Booking.com made it easy to cancel the hotel reservation. I had a harder time with AAA air travel. I purchased travel insurance for my Jet Blue tickets. But I would need to file a claim, and there would be a big hassle. I called Jet Blue and they agreed to give me a 1-year credit for the tickets.

So next up, was opening day of baseball. But it was rained out. Luckily, game was called early. Go figure!

Each day from 1 pm until 7 pm I get to watch puppy television, starring Ginger and her litter of 10. And after 4 weeks they are playing and eating gruel. Next weekend the plan is to drive up north and meet the pups in person. Ginger has 10 puppies. Three girls, and seven boys. I am pretty sure that we will be bringing home a little girl pup, but we will see after we meet all of them next week. We wanted a solid colored pup (only a couple of boys fit that description), but all are so cute and personalities are starting to form. That is more important in the decision process. So excited.

So that is it for the moment. Trying to stay healthy. Relaxing and getting ready for my new adventure.

Waiting is over. And 8-week countdown starts!

The last time I blogged, I was waiting for my grandson to enter the world.

With just one extra 2 a.m. trip to the hospital, we got the word to come to watch the boys while Rachel and Sean headed to Kaiser Roseville. And finally a text, he is here!

Presenting Colton Levi Dennis (photo by Rachel or Sean)

Smooth delivery. Mom and baby are healthy. All the boys were excited to meet their baby brother, Colton Levi. Colton arrived on January 31, 2020, weighing in at 7 pounds 9 ounces and 20 inches in length. Reaction from everyone, he is so small and cute.

Meeting Baby Colton (photo by Rachel)

One day in the hospital and home. Sean was happy to be home to watch the Super Bowl and not in delivery as I predicted. Thought a February 2, Ground Hog day birthday would be fun. My daughter has a supportive husband in Sean. Good thing too!

Starting on February 2 my pup to be mama Ginger moved to Jo’s house in preparation for her upcoming birth of puppies. After an ultrasound Jo let me know that even though I am 5 or 6th on list Ginger was puppy full. My guess was 9 or 10.

Puppy Full (ultrasound)

Our preference is for a solid colored girl, but I will happily enjoy having a boy. Well On February 7th Ginger’s labor started. Grand total many hours later is 10 puppies – 7 boys and 3 girls.

Good job Ginger! (photographed by Jo)

I thought that I would not be high up on the list for a girl, but now I can get the third girl or a boy. I am so excited. Jo posts many photos of puppy piles. No individual portrait session yet. Pups are so busy nursing and sleeping. Moma Ginger is taking good care. Breeder “litterally” has her hands full. Jo sets up a Nest cam for part of the day, and I can check-in and see how much there is to do with a new litter. Silent tv on the corner of my computer screen.

Pile full of Puppy Love – Day 4 (photo taken by Jo)

Now I wait until I can meet the puppies in person, and then bring our puppy home. That date is April 1st. On March 13 I will meet the individual pups via facetime. Then, on March 22 we will visit the litter. Preparations now start. Decisions, purchases, and organizing the house.

So how will I pass the time? I am signed up for a 9-week beginner quilting class and my local quilting shop. I started last week. Even though there are plenty of tutorials, and answers on the Internet, I learn many tips and tricks from the interactions in class. Some of the blocks I am seeing online will make more sense in 9 weeks time, I hope!

My camera is getting a workout. Last week Colton had his first portrait session. Using my prime 35mm 1.4 lens I captured a perfect sleeping angel for his birth announcement.

Colton – one week old

This week my CTD (Camera Totin’ Days) group went to a familiar place, The Antique Trove. Usually, we find this is our go-to place when it is raining. But, alas the day felt more like Spring has sprung. This sunny day did allow us to spend time in The Antique Trove garden area. My focus here in the garden area was how to improve the decor outside. I have a succulent garden that I want to display attractively. So I am on the hunt for ideas.

My husband reminds me that we have too much stuff. But as long as I have a place for everything, and everything is in its place I disagree. Many items have been accumulated over the past almost 50 years. And I made a point of adding only good memories from my parent’s house. There are a couple of things that need changing in the house, but I will wait till puppy training is over.

While at the Trove I also enjoyed photo opportunities. Here are a few to enjoy.

Where did the time go?
Clown Garbage Can. Scarry looking.
Just liked this one!
Be sure to show some love!

Next week, I plan to go to Capay Valley to experience the almond trees in full bloom. Time to get out with the group. Last week after the baby arrived I thought I might have strep throat and so I kept away from everyone till I could be sure.

For the last week in February, my oldest grandson will be visiting from Knoxville, Tennessee for a week. He has plenty of restaurants he wants to visit, probably a trip to San Francisco and a family day celebrating my granddaughter’s 18th birthday. Time flies.

Traveling to New York City in March for a quick trip. Plan to see a show, eat some great food, and take in the sights.

Then home to ready ourselves for our new addition.

So now you are kind of caught up. Well, there is a VERY important item I skipped over. That is to VOTE on Super Tuesday. I am registered. I received my ballot, and plan to vote. Got to stop the continuous destruction of democracy. Interfering with judges should not be allowed. I just can’t understand the people who can follow this amoral person. Impeached, but not removed. VOTE HIM OUT! Rant done.