carolinainmymind

can't you see the sunshine….

Such a sweet dog

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Yes, that is our dog lounging on a piece of furniture, like a lioness hunting big game or squirrels.

Before we leave the house, I move things off the wire racks to the left of where she is sitting, so that she can climb up there and look out the front window.  Just minutes before I took this picture, she had just climbed up there and was facing in the opposite direction and wagging her tail looking out at the rest of the room.  I could just see the thought train going through her mind.  “I could jump on the table, then Ben’s chair, then the bed!  I could go from the front to the back without touching the floor!!!!!!”   Yes, that is our sweet dog…..

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What I did last summer

Guest Post by Guppy, the Lucky Dog 3

She says that I will be going back to school in October.  So I thought I would get ahead and write some thoughts for that back to school tradition, the ‘What I did last summer’ essay.

I was still under my doctor’s care until mid-August.  So I had to be real quiet.  I have watched a whole lot of dog TV

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I have invented a new game.  I throw my toys up in the air.  They land all kinds of fun places.  It makes her laugh when She sees them.

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See the pink and yellow thing on top of papers?  That is the end of one of my knotty bones.  It tosses real well.  I like to see how long it will take for her to see it.

 

A different day I got it up here on the cabinet next to her bed.

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She played a real trick on me.  During the day, when I’m not watching dog TV,  I lounge on her bed.  One day, the bed DISAPPEARED!!!!!!!

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Man Alive!  I was soooo confused.  But She found a bunch of my toys under there so it wasn’t too bad.

It used to be that when they went away (which I don’t like, you know.  But I am gettin better about that.) She would lock the glass door that is part of ‘dog TV’, so I could sit and look out and wait for them to come back.  But She is all worried about it gettin cold.  She says that’s gonna happen.  (Not too soon for me.)  So She rearranged her metal shelves.

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Back when I first came,  before they started leaving the door open, I was already climbing on those shelves even though there was all this stuff there.  Why it took her so long to figure out that if she just rearranged a few things I could have a ‘viewing platform’ and I would be just as  happy as a tick on a hound.  So now,  when they go out, She moves the garbage can and all the stuff on top of the shelves and the shade.  So I use the stool, climb right on up, sit on the piece of furniture and look out the window.  When She first did it, She thought that I would need to be shown how to do that.  Well, my Momma didn’t raise no fool!  I could figure out what to do but sincein She was handing out ham, I played DUMB and let her break it down to little steps, handing out that ham to encourage me.  Anyway, I like my viewing platform.

So mid-August came.  She had made my doctor’s appointment.  Just to make sure I was okay.  And that day the car DIED!.  Really!!!!!! She was so upset she almost cried.  Our sweet young neighbor, Liz, the woman who lives with my friends Emma and Riley, stopped what she was doing and drove us out to the doctor.  She kept apologizing to me about not being able to take me to the dog park that day.  I might have gotten a few extra bones that day.  Anyway, now I go to the dog park.  It’s fun when other dogs are there.  But sometimes there aren’t any other dogs there.  I almost cry when that happens.  But still it is okay because I can walk all over by myself and sniff as long as I want.  Honestly, She gets so impatient when She takes me on a walk and I want to stop and sniff.  Doesn’t She know I’m conducting important DNA analysis on that blade of grass!  I mean REALLY!

And of course we had a hurricane.  I have been a little bit on edge about it all week.  Barking at everyone I see.  But I am going to be brave because I need to look after my Ben and She says that She won’t leave me alone, so that is okay.

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I helped her clean up and get ready.  Not a bad summer.  I think I truly am a LUCKY DOG.

 

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Getting Ready For Florence

Let me just say.  I would really rather have my Aunt Florence visit than this hurricane…

There has been chatter about this storm for over 10 days now.  It begins to wear on you.  But on the other hand, when we were in Italy, we had very little idea when some major weather event was going to happen.  In Italy, I did learn to keep a collection of empty plastic jugs that I could fill with water if I had a clue that we were going to lose power, which meant losing the pump for the well.  Here in the US, every Spring, I use up the supplies from last year and restock my ‘hurricane kit’.  This is a carryover from looking after my Mom when she lived in Florida.

So since we had adequate supplies, I only had to worry about gas in the car and the always essential, pink fizzy wine and Cheetos! And of course, the always important, trip to the library.  Grocery stores were a ZOO!  Parking lots, don’t even ask!  We live in Cameron Village so I know a few parking places that others might not know of.  And I know the ‘flow’ of the village, the busy times, the slower times.    So it wasn’t too bad to get in and out.

Our neighbors have made sure that we know if we need their help they are there.  They are absolute champs at moving all the flying objects off the deck. (see a picture later) This morning I went out to move everything from our deck.

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Not sure how the begonia forest and jungle will fare in the storm.

You know who came out to help me

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And everything is tucked away.

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It gets to the point when you say “I’ve done all that I can do’.  We just don’t have the space to move things inside.  But those young neighbors did a spectacular job.

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Look at those garbage cans….  such a good job.

So we will see what happens.  I worry the most about this tree.

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It made it through Hazel and Fran and goodness knows how many other storms and has been examined and declared healthy.  So I am sure that it will be fine.  Plus we sleep and live on the ground floor…..  Updates later.

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Guppy’s Summer Thoughts

Guest Post: By Guppy, the Lucky Dog 3

We are having a calm summer.  I have to be pretty quiet for 60 DAYS after my last heartworm treatment.  She explained that what happens is the heartworms are killed and are supposed to gradually pass out of my body as little bits.  But if I get too excited a big clump might break off and that might make my heart stop.  So even though it has been really hard I have done my best to not run around a lot.  She says we only have to wait until August 14.  Then we can start to go to the dog park and play with other dogs.

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That is the new Asian man that I had to use my allowance to buy. (Remember a month or so ago those other Asian men were bothering me when She and Ben went somewhere and left me alone with them.)   She is all mad about it because it was not what She ordered.  But it would have been okay except for the green.  She decided to live with it for a while.  And just because I am dropping a few hairs, I had to use my allowance to buy a vacuum too.  I don’t like it at all.  It makes a noise that hurts my ears a lot.  She doesn’t use it too much but when she does I try to bite it.  I’ll never get any new toys…..

For my graduation they did buy me a piece of jewelry.

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I wear it all the time.  No one had ever bought me jewelry before.  And I got

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these great bowls and a new table cloth.  She says this can be my china pattern.  The ‘Sainted Siena’ had her own china pattern but I am not allowed to use it.  It is best that I have one all my own.  I think my ‘motif’ must be fish.  What do you think?

Anyway, Ben and I have our own special time together every morning.

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Well, I think that I am having a very good summer.  Hope you are too.

 

 

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A Big Week

Guest Post:  By Guppy, The Lucky Dog 3

Well this second full week in June was certainly a busy one for me.  On Tuesday I went to see my new vet, Dr. Melissa Hudson at Northwoods Animal Hospital in Cary.  Link to Northwoods  She said that She had known Dr. Hudson since she was a pup.  Apparently, She used to come here all the time many years ago, bringing good dogs to see Melissa’s father, Dr. Dan Hudson.  Going all the way back to Bailey, the cocker spaniel.  That was a really long time ago and then there were the two Afghan hounds, Shamir and The Contessa, and then Hawthorn and even the Sainted Siena came here.  I’m guessing that the only dog that She had, that never came here, was Nerone.  (Sometimes Ben calls me Nerone.  That’s okay because he was a pretty good looking dog so I don’t mind being mistaken for him)  Anyway, my Dr. Hudson was pretty nice and didn’t do any thing really awful to me.  So I guess I won’t mind going back to see her again.

That night after we finished at the vet, we went home and got Ben and then it was off to dog school for graduation. Link to Dream Dogs  I think I did pretty well.  I lost a few points on ‘recall, come and sit’.  I got distracted by my friend Grace.  (She’s just so cute and stylish.  And petite.  She reminded me of my puppies)  Otherwise I did real well on all the exercises.  She and Ben were so proud of me.  She said that one of those Afghans, The Contessa, had flunked dog school.  Can you imagine?

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(Photo credit Robina Thornton)

Anyway, She said we are going to work all summer on exercises and then in the fall I can go back for ‘Distraction Dog’.  I’ll learn how to ignore squirrels.  I was going to work on that this summer since some group has opened a day camp for young squirrels in the big tree by the deck.  (Sometimes there must be 15 or 20 of them up there!)  but what happened to me next will keep me from doing that.

On Wednesday, She and Ben took me back to Saving Grace, the rescue place that I came from.  link to Saving Grace  I know that She and Ben hugged me and told me that they would be back.  I didn’t want to go.  It took a whole lot for me to walk through that gate.  I was real upset and depressed.  I was there for a long time.  She said it was only two nights but it felt like a really long time to me.  Anyway, they gave me big ole shots that hurt.  They are for my heartworm.  So now I need to be quiet for 60 DAYS.  The nasty heartworms die and break off.  If I get too excited too many of them might break off at a time and that would be really bad.

I was moping around on Friday, really sad, napping in my little box when one of the nice volunteers came to get me.  The volunteer walked me out and there was She waiting for me.  I was soooooo happy.  And Ben was in the car.  She says that all the papers are signed and they are really my people now.

 

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I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am.

 

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Dog School

Guest Post: By Guppy, the Lucky Dog 3

 

Dog school, again tonight.  Finally, She has caught on and we are doing things I enjoy.  COME.  I mean REALLY!  How easy could it be.  Run to the person calling you who loves you and/or gives you treats.  There we were in the class room.  That silly big lump Max was there but none of those other dogs, just the two of us.  Max’s person clearly had not done his homework.  She didn’t do much of it with me because it was so obvious that I knew this.

She, the nice lady with treats (She calls her the ‘teacher’) and Ben.  They all stood in a triangle calling me, so I would run from one to the other and they gave me treats.  (Silly People) Well, I aced that.  Afterwards She hugged me and said I must have learned that from a certain black and white dog.  I don’t know who She is talking about but there were little tears in her eyes.  I gotta figure out who this black and white dog is….

Anyway, only one more class.  I heard She talking about some other dog, an Afghan that She knew.  That Afghan had flunked dog school.  Oh my!  Well that won’t happen with me.  As long as some stupid squirrel doesn’t come through class.

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Introducing Guppy

Guppy has taken time from her busy schedule to write a

Guest Post:  By Guppy, the Third Lucky Dog

It has been a whirl wind spring for me.  One day I was down and out on my luck and then the next I was at Saving Grace, (link to Saving Grace web site).  They are just really nice folks there.  Then I was off for a little surgery and then on May 4,  I came to live with She Who Must Be Obeyed and Ben.  I have to be honest, I was kind of hoping for a home with some kids and a big comfy sofa.  These folks are old.  Ben is really old and uses a wheel chair.  It only took one time for me to catch on that wheel chairs run over toes! She is okay.  She takes me for nice walks and plays with me a lot.

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I get to sit outside on the deck.  Which is really nice.

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And I get to watch a lot of Dog TV.  Wow, it is really interesting, all kinds of action, lots of dogs and people.  It’s good!

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So She has this BIG bed, but won’t let me share it with her!  But She does let me use when She isn’t using it.  So I guess that is okay.

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This is my bed.  Between Ben’s chair and that BIG BED.  But that is okay.  I can keep track of both of them.

And She put me in Dog School.  Like I need it….. Really?  She needs it.  It took me TWO WHOLE DAYS of snubbing that awful food she bought me.  I was gettin’ a little faint before she finally went back to the store and bought the kind I like.  So I hope this school helps her.

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Otherwise, I’m having a very good spring.  Thank you for asking.

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We’ve been DOGGED!

Introducing Guppy

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She came to us from  Saving Grace in early May.  We don’t know too much about her past.  She likes to remain mysterious and really does not like to have her picture taken.

It has been two years this month since Nerone died.  Ben and I had been talking about getting another dog.  The expense was one thing that was slowing us down.  But we were gifted with a small amount of money so that helped to cover her adoption costs.

I started looking a few months back for a ‘rescue’ dog.  Always the best kind.  There are a number of organizations here in Raleigh that handle adoptions.  Lots of paperwork to fill out for each of them.  References!  One wanted vet records for any dog we had owned in the past ten years.  I tactfully explained to the lady what it is like to pay for, pack and physically move (yourself) from the other side of the pond.  How, perhaps, I had not moved Nerone’s records which were in Italian….. Still she persisted.  ‘I’ll just call the vet.’ she said.  I pointed out that many Italian businesses did not use the internet the way Americans do and that there was only one person at the vet in Italy that had some command of the English language.  That wasn’t enough.  Finally, I listed the last vet we had here in Raleigh in the 1990s, the vet we had in Virginia until we moved to Italy and gave her a link to my blog, most particularly Nerone’s guest posts on my blog.  Something in that group must have worked.  We were approved.  By that time, we were 4th in line for the dog I picked out.   So no go there.

I had the idea to get a smaller dog.  Sort of a Jack Russel type (like Eddie on Frazier).  Didn’t bother to discuss this with Ben.  I’m looking at sites.  Most dogs seem to be Chihuahua types, Beagle types or Lab types.  No in between.  No mid-size.  No dogs with long fur!  Finally one appeared on the Saving Grace site that was a terrier type with some fur, not too big.  So with much appointment making Ben and I went out to see him.  He (the dog) could have cared less.  We were disappointed.  So the volunteers brought out some other smaller dogs, lap dog types.  One sat in Ben’s lap.  I walked it around.  Ben made a face.  “There’s hair on me.”  Ohhh, clearly Ben doesn’t want a small dog.  Who knew.  It is really busy there and volunteers have figured out that we really don’t have our act together.  So we leave.  Agreeing to keep looking at the web site.  As soon as I saw Guppy on the site I was emailing away.

When a dog comes to a rescue, they see a vet and have the appropriate ‘operation’ to stop producing more rescues.  We saw Guppy two days after her ‘operation’ and she came home with us that day.  She is very polite, well-mannered, curious, loving and is gradually trusting us more and more.  We are all going to dog school to polish up our behaviours.

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So, we have all agreed not to worry about the past and focus on our bright future together.

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Deep thoughts while unpacking

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I wondered if I had run out of boxes and staged a raid on the Post Office.  Then I remembered that Ben had a stack of these in his office in our Virginia house  (he used to mail out info about computer systems that he sold).  Fearing that he would pack these up and move them I probably ‘appropriated’ them for use  packing my Chinese fish platters.

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I unpacked boxes from places where I worked, not just in Virginia but also in North Carolina before we moved to Virginia.  Boxes, Ben had used moving back to the US from Germany even before I met him.  Boxes, used by our Virginia neighbor who moved back from SE Asia just as we were packing up to move to Italy.  Boxes used by John and Richard  (we rented from them in Italy) who had moved all over the world several times.  Boxes from Florida when I packed up my parents’ house.  Boxes Boxes Boxes.  Each one I opened, I thought about the connection it had to us.  About how far that box had traveled.  About the people that I had known.  About the times I had spent with them.  And that is just in the outside of the box.

Inside oh the treasures!  (Oh, the “why did I pack and keep this?”)  I was most excited to find

 

 

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My collection of Revere Ware pots and pans.  I was really afraid that these had been sold or given away.  I am so happy to see these again.  It is a nice set and a duplicate set which was my Mother’s.  For now I am keeping both of them but some of them might have to go.

 

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This hammered aluminum Dutch oven cooked many meals for my family as I was growing up.  Many a Sunday roast.  I can remember my mother experiencing some amount of distress if the church service ran long….”oh, the roast will be dry!”   Very happy to see this again.

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And look at this, it is Siena’s hair, snagged on a piece of furniture and packed away for almost ten years.

UPDATE 2/5/18

I wrote this back in the summer.  Super Bowl weekend I finally got around to cooking a roast in the pot that my mother used.

 

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It turned out well.  I think my parents would have enjoyed it.

There are still boxes tucked away that need to be dealt with.  I am torn between dealing with boxes or working on the projects that still need to be done.  Maybe I’ll try to do a bit of both.

 

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What are you reading?

Growing up I always loved summer because I could read what ever I wanted and as long as I wanted.  And many is the night that I stayed awake half the night finishing a book.  The joy of doing that, but oh how awful you feel the next morning….

I know I recently posted about the two series that I am reading this summer.  To my dismay, I discovered that my library doesn’t have all of the series.  (Yes, thank you, I know how to order up books from other branches and have them sent to my branch.  I am talking about the library as a whole)  So either I need to fill in by reading some of them online or buying some (HORRORS!)  Anyway, while waiting to figure that out I decided to expand from the two series that I was reading.  So I have added The Irish Country series by Patrick Taylor and Effie Leland Wilder’s three books about aging in a retirement community.

The Irish Country series takes place after WWII (maybe the 50s) in a small Northern Irish town and centers around the new doctor in town and his settling in.  It is 15 books. That should keep me amused for a while.  I have been to Ireland, but not Northern Ireland, and I certainly understand being an outsider and small town life after living in rural Italy for 10 years.  This is not some great work of literature but an entertainment.

I have also read Amazing Place,  What North Carolina Means to Writers  (edited by Marianne Gingher) a collection of observations by North Carolina writers about how living in North Carolina has  influenced them.  From more than one writer I agreed with the idea of how important it is to write in and preserve the language of North Carolina.  And how maddening it is to read an article written by someone who does not know the area and portrays the entire state as full of hicks and rednecks.

(Which brings me off on another branch, I have made the acquaintance of a brother and sister whom I speak with regularly.  And I have a friend who would turn up her nose about me chatting with these folks because ‘they sound country!’.  (I can tell, that growing up, her Momma instilled in her using proper English and not sounding like you are from the sticks beyond.) Anyway, I delight in being back in North Carolina and having conversations like the ones I have with these folks.  And if you put aside some of the words that they use, you can hear a lot of college level vocabulary used correctly.  Even though I don’t think either one of them went to college. Conversations like these are one of the things I enjoy most about being back in the US and especially in North Carolina.  I can over hear (and 99% of the time no one cares if you join in the conversation) great stories and comments and truly appreciate all of what is said and the little nuances of the words.  Keep in mind that after 10 years in Italy I was just getting to the place where this happened.  Anyway I have digressed)

So I have come to the conclusion that what I really like about the Miss Julia series, (by Ann B Ross, the one that is helping me find my repressed, not so gentile, Southern lady) the Deborah Knott series, (by Margaret Maron) and the three books by Effie Leland Wilder is the telling of a story and the use of dialect when appropriate.

Now off on another tangent…the telling of a story, especially for comic effect.  One year when my Momma was still alive, Ben and I were driving from Virginia to Florida to see her.  From the Vienna, Virginia library we always got several books on tape to pass the time.  The Margaret Maron, Deborah Knott series was agreeable to both of us, so that is what we were listening to.  Hawthorn, the black and white dog was in the back.  (I haven’t written much about Hawthorn, a good ole boy dog, he died 11 months before we moved to Italy and before I started my blogs.)  He was a very good traveler and always went with us to Florida while Siena went to the ‘spa’ in Leesburg.  He never minded wearing a seatbelt, would happily settled himself down in the backseat.  The only time we would hear from him was when we went through the Hardees or BoJangles Drive thru.  That big paw would come forward and smack down on the console between Ben and I.  Just to remind us that he was back there and ‘oh, make sure to get me a butter biscuit.’  So we are driving down the road listening to a mystery about North Carolina and the reader was at the part where one of Judge Knott’s nephews was deer hunting and came upon a deer lying in the road.  Now he already had a deer or something in the back of his truck.  So he proceeds to put this small road kill deer in the front seat with him.  And goes on down the road.  Well, the deer wakes up!  At this point, Ben and I are laughing.  I hit the pause button.  The language, the way the scene was set up, the reader’s voice.  It was all too much.  We are laughing so hard.  Tears are coming down my face.  I rewind and we listen to it again.  Laughing away.  Well, that was just too much for Hawthorn!  HUMPFH! was the sigh from Hawthorn as he got up, gave us the death stare and then resettled himself in the back seat.  Ben and I did our ‘ohhhh, we disturbed the dog’s nap’ routine which caused a raised eyebrow from him before calm returned to the car.

All this leads to, the ability of these three women to tell a good story and lead you up to the place where you at least chuckle if not have a prolonged bout of laughter.  The best comic parts of the Miss Julia books are complicated.  You have to have read the whole book and catch all the nuances and know the Miss Julia character.  The same with Margaret Maron’s books.  A lot of Effie Leland Wilder’s three books are just entertaining but probably only to someone in my age group or older except for this one short chapter in the second book, Over What Hill?.  I will just say that it involves a constipated donkey, a French horn and an Intracoastal waterway bridge.  Recently, well after midnight I read that chapter and started laughing out loud.  Ben wanted to hear it, so I composed myself as best I could and read it aloud to him.  Now I am laughing, Ben is laughing and I am wondering what our neighbors on each side must think.  But, I know what Hawthorn would do….

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Hawthorn and I in the early 2000s.

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