Friday, April 17, 2009

Farewell, McShane

Last night, the eldest dog member who attends our neighborhood nightly dog get-togethers, was put to sleep. For the past several months his health had been deteriorating quickly. His back paws curved under from arthritis and it was hard for him to hold up his backside. He had his days and nights mixed up and had numerous other problems. His Owners took great care of him and haven't had a full night's sleep in almost a year. But you would never know that he was hurting during the 30 minutes each night as we get all our dogs together to fetch tennis balls, Frisbees and run around on our "dog park" (golf course).

Mac was our elderly leader. All the younger pups greatly respected him and stayed out of his way. When he would start to collapse, Tucker, Petey and Wrigley would run over to check on him, then go back to playing. Mac shot them a look that said, " I can handle myself just fine, thank you." And besides, Mac was way too busy seeking dog treats from all the humans. His favorite treats came from Gretchen, but would beg from all us as he made his way to Gretchen.

We will miss this special dog. He reminded us to be our best each day, no matter what is ailing us or what predicament we have gotten ourselves into. Just like Mac, everyday, we must remember to pull ourselves up and search for what 'treat' we desire in this life.
Thanks, Mac.

Here is his final night for a "Cheers to Mac" with his dog and people friends who loved him so very much:


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wrigley and the Concrete Easter Bunny

Poor ole Wrigley. What, with another holiday and holiday decorations, comes new fears and anxiety for our golden retriever puppy.

I placed this concrete bunny out on the ledge by the pool the other day. At first, Wrigley was scared of it. He growled at it and barked loudly to let the rabbit know who's boss around here.

Then, he got up close and noticed the little Easter basket sitting next to the big bunny.

I had placed two concrete lemons in the basket, mainly to keep the basket grounded and not swimming in the pool. But Wrigley, being the eternal optimist, wanted to investigate further to see if they were edible.

But his big ole block head got caught in the handle and he was not able to get his mouth on the lemons.

Wrigley and the Easter Bunny are now good friends. He likes to sit up there on the pool's ledge in the early mornings and soak up the sun together with his new friend.

Just wait to see what I have planned for the backyard for the Fourth of July! I think Wrigley will get a 'big bang' out of it!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

First Baseball Crush of the Year

Spring training games are underway and I already have my first crush of the year. Yes guys, that's what we do at the who we will be following just a little closer than the other players.

His name is Michael Eugene Fontenot and never mind that he was born just days after I graduated from college! That's irrelevant. He plays for the Chicago Cubs, the best team this year! He's from Slidell, Louisiana and went to LSU for college. He's about my son Jon's height and my husband's weight so it all feels familiar. I think it's kind of cool that while he bats left, he throws with his right hand. And he apparently likes playing on Fridays, because yesterday he homered, tripled and drove in four runs to boot. Not bad.

You want a picture? Okay, here he is (on the left) messing around with Zambrano before the game:

Isn't he cute? And guess what his salary was in 2008? $405,000. I think he deserves a raise, for goodness sakes. Don't worry, I've got your back, Mike. I'll talk to the Chicago Cubs management for you.
See you next game...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Opening Day for Spring Training is Just Around the Corner

I have just spent the remaining morning hours plastering my office walls with the schedules of spring training games around the Phoenix area. I am feeling all giddy and even though we never really had much of a winter to talk about, I have a severe case of spring fever. Spring training fever, that is.

My love for spring training season for baseball began many years ago in Vero Beach, Florida. I was living in Rochester, Minnesota at the time and had recently given birth to my first son, Andy. By March, I was so sick of below zero temperatures I yearned for the sun and a sidewalk that didn't need shoveling. Luckily for me, my parents and Grandmother "Mommom" had rented a place on the beach in Vero Beach, Florida for the month of March. They invited me or (maybe I begged them to invite me), I don't really recall. It does not matter now, as of course, I packed our bags and we headed down to the warm Florida sunshine. If I did nothing for the whole duration of the trip but lay out and swim in the ocean I would have been a happy camper. But this was not the plan my family members had in mind. Several afternoons a week, everyone would leave the beach, shower and put on a brightly-colored pair of shorts or skirt, a t-shirt top and a comfortable pair of flats. We drove inland to the spring training facility for the Los Angeles Dodgers. At the time, it was known as the top facility of its kind in the nation. And thousands of people would attend every game no matter who they were playing.

My parents lived in the Chicago area and liked the Cubs and Mommom was from Wilmington, Delaware and had been a Phillies fan all her life. Still, the Dodgers were in town, so that's who we watched in the spring. I liked the Cubs and baseball was just "okay" until I started attending these middle-of-the-day games in Vero Beach. It was fun to get a hot dog and a beer or soda and watch these amazing athletes run around the bases. No seat was bad and most made you feel like you were very close to these stars. We used to laugh at the kids (all ages!) trying to get their autographs. We were still facing the sun, and back then, working on your tan was very important. Going back to Minnesota not looking like a ghost was right up there with relaxing and seeing my family.

I grew to enjoy these games more and more. And my family continued to spend their springs in Vero Beach. Sometimes a big group of friends would all go to the games, resulting in lots of laughter and stories. A spring training game is one place where all ages can sit together and enjoy each other's company.

My parents moved to Vero Beach permanently and always supported the Dodgers. Years passed by and now Mommom and my Dad have passed away. My Mom still lives in Vero Beach with her husband, Ed. And sadly, the LA Dodgers have left the City that loved and supported them for so many years. They think they have moved to "greener pastures", to perhaps the next newest and best stadium, in Arizona. But I know they left behind so many wonderful fans with wonderful memories of watching a day game in Dodger Stadium. Vero Beach is left trying to pay for an empty stadium with no team to fill it. Vacationers are left with one less activity to fill their days. Do you think the Dodgers' management understand just how sad this move is to so many people? I kind of doubt it.

Today, I am sitting and mapping out which games I will attend. I thank my Mom, Dad and Mommom for giving me this happy memory and this love for spring training games. I am fortunate to be married to a man who loves baseball even more than I do. I just hope he can sneak out of the office once or twice to enjoy his beloved Cubs or the Giants that play in Scottsdale. Yes, spring training fever is raging and I know just the cure........

Monday, February 16, 2009

Chicago Cubs Move to Scottsdale for Spring Training (One Can Hope!)

Word on the street is that the Chicago Cubs may not want to stay in their spring training home in Mesa, AZ. It's not that they don't fill the stadium for every single spring training game, but let's face it. Mesa? Not exactly a fun town. We all drive over there and curse on our way back (probably because we had to stay sober for the long drive home!).

So, I would like to propose my town for their new home that's truly worthy of hosting the Chicago Cubs:


We have the best looking fans, the best restaurants and hotels around us. Just ask San Francisco. I know every town wants you and we all need the added revenue you bring. It would be hard to move, I am sure. Folks in Vero Beach will forever be mad at the LA Dodgers for up and moving to Arizona. They really had something special down there in Florida. Quite unlike Mesa.

Here's hoping that if the rumor is true that you take a look at Scottsdale. I will personally give you a tour!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Whining to the Love Sounds of the Humans

"Are You Done Yet?"

Wrigley's started a new habit in our house. About four months ago, he started to sleep on the floor in our bedroom. He actually sleeps in the foyer area but it's open to the main area, about ten feet from the bed.

Wrigley is a very vocal dog. He sounds like he's whistling or whining and the tune is rather soulful sounding. I think it is in a minor key. Sometimes it rather cute to listen to and sometimes it can be very annoying. Up until recently, I thought he was making these sounds to get our attention. I use to think he was saying, "get off that flippin' computer and take me for a walk" or "I need more food, please". Now, I am not so sure.

This past week, every day we were in bed, doing human sexual things, he began to whine or whistle. I think he's trying to drown out the sounds of passion. Which is making us laugh. In fact, during one session when things got loud, Wrigley sat up and basically howled like a coyote right along with us. The minute we stopped, he stopped too. I guess you could say it's a threesome in a wholesome, empty nester sort of way.

Poor pup.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Number of Days Until the First Cubs Spring Training Game

13 !
Who's counting, you say? Why, Wrigley and me of course. Tickets are available online. I wish they let golden retrievers in the lawn area, though. He would so enjoy the afternoon!
Now, you may not be aware of this fact, but this is going to be the year the Chicago Cubs win the World Series! Yes, you heard it here first!

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Eight Perfect Valentine's Day Gifts

I doubt I will ever stray from the fact that there really are only eight perfect gifts to give your loved ones for Valentine's day. This is the one gift that is a serious commitment and should only be given if you have already discussed all the details about loving and caring for a new addition to your family. But, I guarantee, the recipient will not be unhappy with your selection. This is one gift most children ask for at some point in their lives, as evidenced in this letter:

Here's a picture of Wrigley when we first brought him home (around 8 weeks old). He would be playing one moment, then collapse on the hard wood floor, looking just like a tiny bear rug. Awwwhhhh!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Even Dogs Celebrate the Presidential Inaugural 2009

It was written in the newspapers that all across America people were getting together to celebrate freedom and the Presidential Inaugural ceremonies this past week. Well, our neighborhood was no different, except most of our guests had four legs and a tail!

We get together with our dogs almost every evening after the golfers have finished playing, only we don't usually have cocktails. After Tuesday evening, though, we may start bringing libations more often!

We have Eric Felten, writer for the Wall Street Journal's Food & Drink section to thank for Tuesday's buzz and Wednesday's hangovers for that matter. He wrote a fantastic article (Sat/Sun, Jan 17-18, p. W5), called 'Having a Ball at the Inauguration'. The story was about the crazy party with the American people at Andrew Jackson's Inauguration in 1829. There are some striking similarities between that inauguration and this one (read the article).

Anyway, he included a recipe of the Inaugural Orange Punch that got so many people drunk back in 1829, so I made up a batch to use at out little party. I also made a Barackatini from a recipe off the Internet, but it was not near as special as the punch.

The first cup was delicious! Here's to our 44th President! The dogs were busy roaming around and chasing tennis balls oblivious to the political process.

The second and third cups were even better! Yummy. One person had to go home and she put the wrong dog on her lease to leave. Poor Wrigley almost went to another person's home for a sleepover!

Discussion on the fourth and fifth cups of punch:

"You should post the recipe for this punch on your blog!"

"Good idea":
Inaugural Orange Punch
3 parts fresh orange juice
1 part fresh lemon juice ( I squeezed about 5 lemons for 1/2 and used Minute Maid Light Lemonade for the other 1/2)
1 part mulled orange syrup (see below)
1 part dark rum
1 part cognac
2 parts soda water
Combine in a punch bowl with a large block of ice. Serve in punch cups with a little crushed ice and give each glass a dash of Angostura bitters.
For the Mulled Orange Syrup:
Combine 1 cup sugar with 1 cup water and heat to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce heat to a low simmer. Add the peel of an orange and mulling spices (a couple of cinnamon sticks, some whole cloves and allspice berries). After 15 minutes, remove form heat and let it sit for several hours, strain.
Finishing off the last cups in the punch bowl, some of us could have used this sign crossing the course to get back home with our pets:

I cannot think of a better way to celebrate, it's a new tradition in our house! Congratulations, Mr. Obama and special thanks to Eric!

Monday, January 19, 2009

I See Tears in His Eyes

Wrigley is definitely going through the empty nest syndrome today. The last child left yesterday, heading back to college and I see actual tears and crying from Wrigley, our golden retriever. He keeps roaming the house, looking for someone to rough-house with or be pet or play ball, but no one is here...except me.

For the past three weeks, Wrigley has gotten nonstop attention from the kids and their friends. A lot of time, they would just lie around the house together, watching TV or listening to music. I think he is going to have a harder time adjusting than I am! Maybe, I should go pick up a special bone for him to chew or get him a new toy to destroy.

I keep telling him, it'll get better as the days go by and that at least Laura will be returning in four months for her summer break, but my words are falling on deaf ears. For Wrigley, each time we leave, he has no understanding whether we will back in 20 minutes or 4 months from now. Poor puppy.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Wrigley Delivers the Goods

I know you are all waiting for an update on the findings in Wrigley's poo, so here goes:

Yesterday, his droppings included one earring stud minus the stone, a broken golf tee (the sharp end), a colorful beaded child's necklace and part of a shredded, red Tupperware top, oh and some noodles. No pink razor yet.

I'd like to put in on record that we do feed him dry dog food twice a day. He loves it; it takes all of 45 seconds for Wrigley to consume 2.5 cups of food each feeding. Still, who could resist a little sparkly jewelry for a midday snack? I think he's really going to miss Laura when she returns to college next week with all the yummy taste treats lying around in her room!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

What Do Wrigley and the last Emperor of China Have in Common?

Today is day two of our latest ordeal with Wrigley, our 16 month old golden retriever. (My husband caught him chewing a plastic razor from a bathroom trash can and the sharp razor part had already been swallowed). He is showing no signs of pain or discomfort but remember that this is the same dog that runs directly into stucco walls in the backyard without even a whimper.

He's had a steady diet of breads and rice that hopefully have coated the sharp edges of the razor as it slips through his 80-pound body. And although it's one of the most unpleasant things I do all day, I am checking his #2 droppings similar to how the servant/workers checked the bowel movements for the last Emperor of China. Don't you remember in the movie, they checked to see the color of his urine and the consistency of his poos and adjust his menu to "fix" or correct any problems? Here's the clip for the movie in case you forgotten it (the movie came out 10 years ago, so maybe you weren't even going to movies yet). The child actor was so adorable, but his life was pretty sad overall.

Anyway, my careful examinations show me nothing unusual has passed through my puppy yet and it makes me wonder just how long this item is going to take to get through him. What if he's bleeding inside his intestines or someplace and we don't even know?! It's really kind of scary when you think about it........

..........Scary for me and the family, but Wrigley is oblivious. He's happy all the time. Every night, we head out to the golf course (we call it our dog park, FYI) and he runs for tennis balls, tackles his buddies and occasionally tromps through the sand traps (shhh! don't tell anyone).

Keep your fingers crossed that maybe tonight the razor will reveal itself and Wrigley is fine!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Today, Wrigley got into a trash can and ate one of those plastic shavers. Not the whole thing, mind you. Just the razor part! Bill caught him seconds later and tried to grab down his throat to retrieve it, but to no avail. I tried, too.

We have given him some bread and rice and do not know what else to do but sit and pray that Wrigley will be okay. Wrigley is 15 months old and he has already eaten so many things that should not go through a puppy's system. Whole socks, baby back ribs bones and countless dog toy parts have made their way through this strong little (well, 80 pound) puppy.

Say a little prayer and keep your fingers crossed for Wrigley tonight!