Thursday, July 27, 2006

Shake her but don't wake her

(backdated entry)

About 5:15 this morning we had a very strongly felt earthquake - one of the largest I've personally felt in terms of it being close and very shallow. It wasn't like the deep world far below was moving, more like someone had set a giant eggbeater loose.

I was so bone-exhausted from staying up half the night working every night this week that my reaction was less than textbook. I was lying on my stomach and felt the bedsprings sproinging as though someone were standing against the bed shaking it sideways. A moment later it occurred to me that I sleep on an oak platform bed, so I tried to revise my understanding of what was going on. Hunter had exited the bedroom like cannon shot, but as the jostling went on and I heard something shift or fall (not heavily) in the next room, I really really tried to make myself care but I wanted soooooo much to go back to sleep. I just rode it out to see what would happen but I didn't even change position or lift my head (the pillow felt soooo good). I learned later that it was a 5.1 quake (yow!) centered five miles east of us (yow again!). I promise next time I will try harder to keep my eyes open.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The luge run of life

I admit that I was delusional when I blithely thought that I could ably manage preparing for houseguests, help put on the Dog Jog this weekend and hop a plane East as soon as it's over... The thing about life as a luge run is that it isn't just a matter of hanging on for the ride, you really do have to adjust for every niche and bump in the ice as you encounter them at 100 mph, and maneuver them with finesse.

My finesse is a little frayed at the moment. But I hope to get back to the blog before long, as I have little moments to share including wonderful summer flower gardens, a visit from a mama moose and her two babies, Nathaniel's latest news, my kitty friend Raina's 21st birthday and of course the latest exploits of Hunter the Faboo. But right now I just have to tighten my helmet.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Eat your greens

This mama moose and twin calves visited Nancy and me (and a very WOOFY Emma and Hunter) at work today. We watched them demolish Nancy's ornamental trees for about 45 minutes before hollering them over to the neighbor's buffet next door.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Posy patch

(backdated entry - and these flowers got even more prolific and beautiful in the following weeks but I'm lucky I got any pictures of them at all...)

Hanging baskets are a popular tradition up here in the summers, and I'm a fan of stuff that keeps easy, so rather than do nothing, I decided to go with the never-fail petunias. My three favorites this year are my old standby Supertunias for the front porch basket, a perennial called self-heal (that's the tall stuff in the bed - it went wild with deep colored spiky blossoms) and my new discovery is Wave petunias, which spread like crazy as a ground cover through the beds and bloomed fearlessly despite some rather, um, inconsistent husbandry from me. (In my defense, inconsistent husbandry is the only sort with which I have been acquainted...)

This group (below) started from a hopeful little plant with just two blooms and spread this far in about four weeks. I like alyssum for ground cover but it takes forever to go anywhere, and this was lickety-split. And as I backpost this on Aug 28, it's still blooming like crazy.

A Rio runs through it

(backdated entry)

Starr (now named Rio Catalina) has found a lovely home with Betsy and her young labradoodle Blossom. I am very very happy for a wonderful placement, but we'll sure miss her a lot here. Unlike Hunter, she was very happy to clamber up on the couch and plop full length on top of me for a naptime cuddle. (She can also sleep with her eyes open; I don't know whether that's related to her blindness, but it's a little disconcerting somehow.)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Elephant Dog

The other night Hunter was licking his left hind foot and I realized that it was bleeding. Profusely. But I couldn't figure out from where, which puzzled me no end but the bleeding stopped finally. Never did find a wound per se, but there was sort of a raised white area on the side of his toe.

Fast forward two days (to yesterday) and our visit to The Holy Man, who believes that Hunter had an abscess. In the meanwhile he'd been licking that foot a lot so it's a mess, and now we are living in Conehead land and having lots of topical meds. Ron is speculating that it's a contact reaction, maybe to grass? which hasn't ever happened before and I would hate to think would be starting now. While we were there, he looked at all of Hunter's feet, and sure enough one of his front feet had the tiniest little bump on one of the pads, maybe the size of a pencil eraser.

By this morning the pencil eraser was the size and heft of a fat grape and had a twin appearing on the next toe. Poor Hunter. He's clearly miserable and his feet are turning into fat Frankenpaws as his toes succumb to this one by one. Starr is back with us for four days and hasn't been affected by whatever this is.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Raina gets carded

(backdated post)

I was honored to receive an invitation to Raina's 21st birthday party today, at her veterinary clinic. Although I'd stack Gryphon's medical file against anyone's as Best Substitute for a Child Booster Seat, Raina's particular claim to fame (among many) is that her medical file outweighs her (she was up to 4 lb 4 oz today though - good girl!). I am very blessed to have Pat and Raina (and rottiegrrl Skye) as friends.

From ancient Raina I have learned that there is wisdom and depth in quiet reflection, but also that complaining very loudly until you get what you want is a perfectly reasonable fallback position.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Movie: A Prairie Home Companion

[will upload the photo when stupid Blogger fixes its server]

Devotees of all things Powdermilk are of course required to see this movie or suffer a heap of Lutheran guilt and more. I went at the midnight hour with a small band of National Public Radio types, and it felt immediately comfortable in precisely the same way as it did when I walked into the auditorium for PHC's 10th anniversary broadcast performed live right here in Anchorage mmfty-mmf years ago.

The thing is, I have no idea why people think Robert Altman is a genius. For my money the only Altmanesque thing worth watching in this movie was a patois delivered by Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin as sisters reminiscing on their family's early roots as gospel performers. Beyond that, one could argue that the characteristic Altman approach is already covered in the screenplay by Garrison Keillor, framed as just a larger version of his trademark yarns, with the slow and uninteresting spots and the parts that pierce the heart so unexpectedly, strung together with the knowledge that the fun is always in hearing how GK might find his way out of the mess he's talked himself into and weave an ending to the tale.

It's those small nuggets of gold that were so worth it. Woody Harrelson and John C. Reilly (as the cowboys Dusty and Lefty) with "The Bad Joke Song" - Lindsay Lohan in an extemp delivery of "Frankie and Johnny" filling in the memory gaps with her own teen-suicide-poem words, tentatively at first, then selling it full out - an unexpected death backstage and the aching of a lover's heart in the chest of a 70-year-old woman. Kevin Kline brings actual depth to Guy Noir, a character I tired of as soon as I heard it on the radio show, and finally can say I enjoyed, once.

A month or so ago, Meryl Streep reprised one of the songs, "Goodbye to My Uncles," on the PHC radio broadcast. You can listen to it here. I have a VocalEssence recording of this song that I just love. It's not a great song, it's just an honest song, and I always weep with the very first words. I liked that I could sit there in the theatre with the tears streaming down my face and hear the sniffles of others around me. And I liked that as the players gather on stage for a rousing finale of "In the Sweet By and By," a small group of voices raised around me in the little cineplex just as it would have in the Fitzgerald on a Saturday night.

Goodbye to my mama, my uncles and aunts,
One after another they went to lie down
In the green pastures, beside the still waters,
And made no sound.
Their arms that have held me for so many years,
Their beautiful voices no longer I hear;
They're in Jesus' arms and He's talking to them
In the rapturous New Jerusalem.
And I know they're at peace in a land of delight
But I miss my mama tonight.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Did you miss me?

The week careened by and I have much to tell but no time to tell it. Wisely staying behind the curve of first-run movies, I've gone to the theatre in the middle of the night (that's my free time) to see Click and A Prairie Home Companion. Have worked productively at my real job, encountered about a hundred effing frustrations in other areas of life, sent Starr back to her primary foster this morning (boo hoo hoo) and thought hard about her permanent future and what it might take for that to be here with us. Hunter has distinguished himself with basically just one thing - his first (I think) bite incident. Unfortunately it would be have been more distinguished if he hadn't been the one who did the biting. And I've just learned that the landlord and her two dogs (including Molly the American Bulldog who stands on my shed roof and projects her nerve-shredding bark directly into my bedroom window for approximately 23.5 hours a day) are not coming back to Alaska next spring. They're coming back next week.

Once I have located my nicest, fattest, most yielding vein, I may come back and tell the rest of the story. The really sad part is that in my life, this week doesn't even get an honorable mention for drama and trauma.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Maw and paw

We were out on the back deck this evening when suddenly my arm was inadvertently swallowed by the puppygirl...

We shook hands and made up. I love her giant feet!

I learned today that the eye surgeon said that Starr's visual range is not nearly the 3 feet or so that her previous owners had thought. That's consistent with what I've seen, which looks to be about 12-15 inches of 'whatever' she has. She stumbles but she learns where things are quickly. She is not as acute at locating by sound as I had thought she might be.

We had a very warm day - into the 80's in places - and she enjoyed some time on the back deck. However, she tried to get Hunter to play by using obnoxious tactics - poking and being very pushy - and finally he let her have it and literally tried to bite her head off. She immediately cried and went and hid behind a deck chair and whimpered. She wouldn't come out for the longest time and finally I dragged her out. Her little feelings were so hurt. But on the whole she is a mellow and happy girl. She stays nearby and I like it when she gets up close - she gives tender little chin nibbles, and it seems that she is really trying to see you with those empty eyes. You can't really see her soul through them, but that is coming out in other ways.