A Southern Porch…

A Southern porch

This is where life happens in the South, or at least some of it.

My porch is not a fancy porch; it is simply my go-to place, my sanctuary; a place to “catch a breeze”.

There is a swing at one end where I sit while my thoughts find form. For the hot summer days that sometimes reach into the high 90s, there’s a Southern Breeze maker – a fan. Here in the South, we make our own breeze more often than not.

A Southern breeze maker

The porch is in need of washing for as soon as the mildew has been scrubbed away, it begins to form again. The floor shows the marks of Sentry, a pet, taking a running start and flying off the end in an attempt to avoid landing in the azaleas that line the porch. More marks are noticeable from Calypso, another pet, chasing her tail. Taking up space is a plant bench that my husband made for a daughter. I’m sure she’ll be by at some point to reclaim it, but until then I’ve piled it high with plants; plants I forget to water.


Two rockers take up residence on the front porch, their red surface marred by the chew marks made by Calypso as a puppy. They sport by contrast, fading yellow putty in need of paint. Across the front steps is a double gate; installed in an attempt to keep our two German Shepherds, Ryka and Calypso, off of the porch. Most days, it swings in the breeze as I am not diligent about securing it. I find it comforting to look up and see one, if not both of my dogs, napping at the front door in an attempt to be near me. Some days, all I see is a blur, as they have left their mark, nose prints on the glass, as they have sat watching my every move inside.

German Shepherds
Ryka and Calypso along with the smudges
German Shepherd
Let sleeping dogs lie

We have plans for the front porch. Much discussion flowed about the pros and cons of putting the screening on the inside or the outside of the railings. The porch railings have gone up without the screen. Louvers will eventually be built and installed at either end of the porch for privacy. Landscape will be cut back and the steps widened to accommodate the double screen doors that will be installed.

West German Shepherd


Until that time, the front porch is a place to sit and relax. It is a place to dream of the future and contemplate the mistakes of the past. It is a place to drift in time as we Southerners are known to do.

West German Shepherd

My Life in Review – Never let it be said that life is dull

Never let it be said that life around me is dull; I’ll just make my own fun. Yesterday was mow the yard day. Trawling season here in South Louisiana opened so Hubby was occupied for the day and I was looking for something to do.

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photo 5 (2)Ryka and Calypso love to ride the new mower so after all was said and done (the yard mowed) it was have some fun time. I pulled up to the kennel and cut the blade, and they both came running out, actually stumbling over each other in their haste to see who was going to climb up on the mower first. This surprised me as Ryka doesn’t seem to trust me. She’ll ride with Hubby, but is quite hesitant if given the opportunity to ride with me. Kind of makes you wonder…but Calypso? Now, that is a throw-back to the 1960s. She is the wild child and doesn’t think twice about anything. She leaps without looking. It’s all about fun.

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Now, you may think I’m a little crazy because how do I know what my dogs are thinking? Clearly, if that’s the case, you don’t have a dog (and not everyone wants a dog). Ryka is the regal one. She sits like a queen, acts like a queen, gets treated like a queen. Of course, she’s earned it. She came to us fully trained, but sadly only listens part of the time. When I call her, she sometimes just sits there and looks at me. Just like a teenager! I’ll tell her to “come” again and she’ll put her head down and give me the sad eye look. Generally, the third time I call her, she’ll slowly drag her body up – like it’s a huge chore – and walk on over, hoping there will at least be food. On the other hand, if she thinks there’s a belly rub coming, she’ll flip over in a nano second.

Calypso – what can I say? She’s the wild child. She’s half Ryka’s age at 3 and has Doggie ADD. She loves spring – she loves any season. She loves the cold and wet and mud in the winter. She loves the cool days of fall and spring. But, she especially loves the summer months with swimming and bugs. Actually, she loves water period. She loves chasing anything that flies by. I love sitting on the porch swing watching her run back and forth. If you’ve ever watched a cutting horse, you’ll understand. She is very graceful. She runs and cuts and heads back and spins on a dime. Shepherds are very powerful animals and to watch her run and gain speed and cut is actually quite a beautiful dance. What is particularly interesting to watch is when a mosquito hawk (dragon-fly) lands on the chain link fence. She does a series of tapping with her back legs until she gets her position just right and then up she goes on those hind legs and grabs the bug without ever touching the fence – that is grace. Then, in a New York second she’ll bite your finger trying to get her doggie cookie – we’re working on that one. I can feed her ham or cheese and she is quite careful about nibbling it out of my fingers as not to bite (I’m constantly trying their patience on that one so they remember not to bite the hand that feeds them), but if I have a dog cookie, she’ll take my fingers off in the process. I’m still scratching my head on that one.

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Signs have been popping up all over the parish (we are in Louisiana) in the shape of forks. It’s all about tourism. I was at a meeting focusing on our Parish Comprehensive Plan (I’m on the Planning Commission) and there was talk about a new fork that had popped up. To us, who live here on the bayou, it depicts a little humor. It is so often the answer when someone is asking directions – “It’s up the bayou” or “It’s down the bayou.” It is a phrase I even find myself using it quite a bit. I’m a transplant to the area and never gave it a second thought until one of my daughters asked me – “How do you know what is up the bayou and what is down the bayou?” I guess it’s one of those relevant things – if you are here, that’s up and that’s down. Move a little and what was up is now down, or visa versa. Anyway, I thought you might enjoy the sign and a little trivia. This particular sign can be found once you exit the interstate, (which crosses Bayou Lafourche) and you circle around to Louisiana Hwy. 1 which runs with the bayou. Instead of Raceland or Lockport, it just simply states “Up the Bayou” or “Down the Bayou.” You have only those two choices.

308 Forkphoto 1 (4)

I did have a little excitement this week. I attended a meeting and then headed off to grocery shop. My habit is to put my keys in my pocket when I exit my vehicle and then lock the doors. That way, I NEVER forget my keys. There’s that word I NEVER try to use because it always comes back to bite you – NEVER! About half way through shopping I happened to run my hand down my side and realized in a panic that I didn’t feel my keys. At that point I tore my bag apart searching, hoping frantically that I had tossed them inside. No keys.

I did my best to calm down and then began praying in earnest. I completed my shopping and retraced my steps back to the truck. No keys. At this point I was beginning to panic. I stepped up to the window and there on the console were my keys and after my initial excitement, I realized they were locked in and I was locked out. And, to make it worse, Hubby was at a meeting 40 miles away and that person had picked him up at our house – 15 miles “down the bayou” and that is where his set of keys to my truck were. Not a good situation and to make matters worse, it was 6:00, the time his meeting was set to begin. I was quickly adding up the miles involved to get my truck opened – 40 + 15 “down” + 15 “up” + 40 back to the meeting = I had better find another way into the truck.

photo (1)Then I remembered – ONSTAR!!! Then, I thought oh no, how do I call OnStar? I am one of those people – the one who is so organized, she panics that maybe that is the one time the information won’t be found. I did have my phone and I called. The kind lady asked how could she help and of course, being me, I told her my keys were locked in my truck and I was locked out of the truck. The whole process took less than three minutes. I gave her the needed information and she told me to step away from the truck and the locks popped up. Magic! Needless to say, there was a whole lot of prayer thanking going on.

I’m sure those weren’t all of my adventures, but I think I’ve blocked the rest out. See you next week!

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It’s all about life – Tuesdays with Donna, A Little Southern Comfort

It’s Tuesday. Welcome to a Little Southern Comfort here on My Life. Just so happens today is also my birthday. I found myself wishing it didn’t fall on this day because I write my column on Tuesdays. While most people enjoy celebrating their birthdays, I do not. It has nothing to do with age. I am now 56 years old. See – no problem. My not celebrating my birthday has to do with life.

If I celebrated my birthday, I would find myself making a wish as I blew out a candle; and because we all want that proverbial wish to come true, we tend to wish for something that will come true. You have to admit that we all hedge our bets. I can’t do that. I would wish for my two daughters to put their anger aside and to be part of my life, an honest part with no pretense. I have wished and prayed for just that for seventeen years. It hasn’t happened. And so, this is why some birthdays, theirs and mine, are bittersweet.

Yesterday was my sister, Debbie’s, birthday. She lost a battle with Leukemia at age seven. I was five at the time, and as anyone who has lost someone dear to them will tell you, the loss never goes away. And, although I have my very own angel in Heaven, the gloom lurks near by.

As Tuesday was approaching, I didn’t think I’d have much to write about this week, but turns out, things began happening. I’m still trying to navigate my way around my new Mac Air. I have to admit that by Saturday night, I was wishing I had left it on the Apple tree (so did everyone else!) I was attempting to use Quickbooks for Mac. photo (7)I’ve been using Quickbooks on my PC for about six years now and easy peasy. On my Mac, I had a menu strip down the side of my screen as well as a menu across the top and then the open page in the center. Once I figured out what was going on (just as I was picking up the phone to dial Quickbooks help) everything made sense.

Then, I had to close the file and finding it again proved to be a scavenger hunt. After a few texts to a friend, I managed to not only locate the file but even move it to another folder. Thanks Jessica! Yeah Me!

I have another good friend whose little boy started school this year. He has a few developmental problems and his little immune system is compromised. This means she needs to stay nearby in the event another of his classmates is sick and she will need to pick her little boy up so he doesn’t get sick. We haven’t been able to have lunch together for a while so I told her we needed to do breakfast instead. What fun! She came over and we had fun that only two chocoholics and puff pasty addicts could have. We wrapped chocolate in puff pastry, put it in the oven, and sat down to wait – impatiently! When the pastries came out of the oven, we sprinkled – okay, dumped – the confectioner’s sugar on them and then laughed like only kids can do. It was the best breakfast and visit. We’ll have to do that again soon Lynette!

We almost had a hurricane blow through. Call me crazy, but Hubby and I both attribute our good fortune to all the people on the bayou praying the “Hurricane Season Prayer” that gets prayed every Sunday in mass. We live in Southern Louisiana about 60 miles southwest of New Orleans and all the rain was on the east. God listens when two or more are gathered. The proof is in the pudding!

My cousins that have been in from Georgia came to visit on Friday. They left on Sunday to go back to the place on top of the mountain they now call home. I miss them already. I pass their house in New Orleans every time I head into the city to Ochsner for a doctor appointment or blood work and I could always count on calling and saying, “I’m passing by, want company?” I am quite lucky to have them in my life, even if it’s not as often as before. I really miss the great meals I was served on those days.

The tide has been high due to the disturbance in the gulf and on Sunday the bayou was finally beginning to flow back south. Water lilies were floating by in droves and as Hubby was checking his crab traps, a few came close enough to the wharf to snag a few blooms. They are really pretty and I love sitting on the swing behind the boat house photo (2)watching them float by. It is very peaceful if you can tune out the traffic.  There will be pictures if I can figure out where they are on the computer. That’s makes me laugh, because I hit download and they disappeared. (Obviously, I did find the pictures.) I am also wondering why it was so easy to find them. Someone is playing a trick on me.  I am also including a picture of the bayou. So many people do not know what a bayou is and we get asked that question frequently. In other parts of the country, it is called a river or a stream, etc. Here in the South, it is called a bayou.

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It is also pecan season, at least in our yard. We have a pecan tree that produces every two years. And, of course, Hubby decides to check to see if the the steady wind that has been blowing has knocked any to the ground. I say this because we are on our way back from the boat house and there is no container except our pockets to put them in! photo 4photo 3

I am also including a picture of Calypso and Ryka (laying down sleeping) sitting guard at the base of the tree. We had a squirrel for the first time this year and they know it’s up there. For someone who chases her tail and can’t sit still, Calypso is

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holding a quiet vigil waiting…

According to my planner, I have books to read for review so that’s My Life for this week. Hope you’ll stop  by again next Tuesday for a visit.

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Hurricane Isaac – “Lucy’s” Disaster

     Part 2

       The storm has passed and the bayou is attempting to return to normal. Hubby was out and about andchecking on our rental houses and as luck would have it, part of husband duty was trying to find milk for wife. After passing many still closed markets, he happened upon Wal-Mart, which, just his luck, was out of milk. Hubby didn’t panic, even though he knew I would no doubt go through milk withdrawal at any moment. Being the person he is, he lost no time spinning around and heading for the soda department where he found a six-pack of IBC Root beer in the bottle. He knew without a doubt, what would make his wife happy. Now, THAT is what love is!
Ryka got excited and jumped on me.
Hubby did a pretty good job.
It was looking better until it opened back up. Now
the lines don’t match. Oh well.
It is not only the actual hurricane that causes distress in our lives; it is the personal aftermath. It is the moments in the week following the storm as you are trying to re-establish your routines. Case in point; today. Hubby was helping to fold up Ryka’s metal petcrate, which is quite heavy. I normally do this by myself, but I’ve been having problems with the arthritis in my hands so I asked for help. BIG MISTAKE!
        He kept telling me I was doing it wrong and I kept telling him I wasn’t. The crate ends fall in and then the bottom, sides, and top sort of fold down into place -kind of have to be there – like an accordion. As men will do, he told me to do it myself. He let go as I began folding and as the pieces fell into place, my pinky became caught in between two pieces of the cage. The crate was too heavy for me to lift back up with one hand and my pinky was either going to stay stuck or … -it could only stay stuck.
       So, I screamed. Yes folks, I resorted to screaming – in pain – until he figured out that he had to lift the crate to release my finger. I can’t blame him for his confusion. After all, he is not an –sighing – INTJ. I enjoy using that excuse – except for when he laughs and throws it back at me.
       I now have a black and blue pinky and it is quite sore. It is still crooked from when I fractured it and misplaced – dislocated – it during a fall. Still whopped; just a pretty shade of blue whopped now.
      Alas, but that was not the only mishap. My feet look like they have chicken pox from the many ant bites. Instead of piles in the yard, they have scattered everywhere and they are looking to hurt. I am not trying to sound paranoid, but they seem to want to hurt me. Hubby said I needed to wear my white shrimp boots -yes, I am mortified to admit I have my own pair- but then, it would just take longer to notice the ants had crawled up the boots.
       Ants are not the only little nuisances I have had the bad luck to find myself up against. Going back to trying to re-establish a routine, I went out the back door to ring the bell to alert the dogs for dinner and dang, if a wasp didn’t reach out of the bell and sting me on the same hand I hurt this morning dismantling the kennel! That bell has been hanging at our house for ten years and NEVER once has anything built a nest in it.
       And, I’m not through! As if that weren’t bad enough, Hubby wasn’t around to come to my rescue, so I had to call him on the phone so he could tell me what to do – did I mention I’m not too handy in a crisis? After lots of cold water and then cold Benadryl gel, the sting finally subsided. Now, it is just a hole in my hand. And, for the record, whoever said – and Hubby repeated – that bee stings alleviate arthritis pain in the joints – doesn’t work. Take my word on this.
       I wasn’t the only one to suffer from this mishap. Calypso ended up caught in the bee fray. I couldn’t find the wasp spray so I figured the flying insect spray would work. After all, wasps fly. I took aim and sprayed into the bell. Nothing happened. I had checked and there was a wasp in there, so I sprayed a second time. It finally fell, disoriented from its perch.
        BUT, it didn’t fall to the ground in death, it continued flapping around, so I went inside to locate a shoe. I came back out just as it took flight and landed on Calypso’s back. I am horribly chastened to admit that I popped Calypso on the back with the shoe. Poor thing did not know what was going on. She will probably need doggie therapy from the entire trauma. The little buzzard got away and I think Calypso finally realized I was not trying to hurt her. Who can tell? She is still watching me with a funny look on her face.
       Speaking of therapy, Ryka and Calypso could probably use a good doggie therapist by now. Well, knowing that under normal circumstances, their “Papa” expects them to realize that they are dogs and therefore should remain outside; they were a little confused when the kennels came out of the shed and were put into the garage.
       With tails wagging and hearts full of hope, they got excited. They were running in and out of the garage, at a loss as to what to do. As soon as the rains came, they were all too happy to come inside and ran straight for their kennels. Each time I opened the kennel doors and asked if they wanted to potty, they ran to the back door. Once I opened the door and they stepped out, they immediately turned around and went back to their kennels. Knowing that “Papa” does not let them inside, they were not taking any chances on being left outside. Those poor dogs didn’t potty for almost twenty hours!
       Then, to confuse the poor little souls even more, their “Papa” would sit out in the garage each morning and drink his coffee. He would sit in the rocker right next to them. Before Ryka and Calypso could truly understand what was going on, the hurricane passed and they were once again, banished outside.
       We ended up being without power for about five days, had uprooted trees, with another poor tree sheared and no longer looked like a tree, and shingle damage. No one is any worse for wear, but I hope that we do not have to go through that again for a few years.
       Just when you think the story is over, “Lucy” has another hurricane adventure! I had blood work done on Friday -looks like a vampire bit me. I had to show the tech where they normally stick me. She stuck me on the side of my arm. I do not like needles and that made no freaking sense to me at all. I had it done at the local hospital and then sent into New Orleans. I told Hubby, next time, New Orleans. They get loads of practice and know what they’re doing.
       I received the results a couple of days ago and my platelet count and red cell count are both continuing to rise. This brings me to Hubby’s reaction to the news.
       We were having lunch and I told Hubby about the blood results. After much contemplation, his response -and I’m still baffled- was that people -me?- need to exercise more and work out in the yard and do more things and then they wouldn’t have all these diseases. I’m still trying to figure that one out.
       But, I went out and “exercised and worked in the yard with him clearing branches” and that worked out real well. I sliced the knuckle on my thumb wide open. The blood was flowing, just like a faucet – not a dribble – running. It would not stop. Hubby had walked to the barn and was sharpening his saw. I made a detour through the house to get a towel for my finger.
       Then, I went to the barn to find him. As I walked up to him with a soaking wet red dishtowel I said, “I did something.”
       In calm Hubby fashion -he’s used to bandaging me- he pulled out the first aid kit, dumped hydrogen peroxide on it -now there was a puddle of blood and hp on the concrete- and he proceeded to wrap gauze around and around my thumb and then taped it up. So much for curing my blood disorders. I guess that will have to wait for another day. Now, he did a really fine job bandaging my thumb, but the thing is, I am allergic to anything that contains the least little bit of sticky or latex. Are you getting my drift? That’s right. The finger is all nicely bandaged and itching like crazy.
       -Sighing- it’s just another day in the life of “Me”.
       Feel free to jump in here and add your own comments. How is your day going?
As always, thanks for taking the time to visit today!
Be sure to follow so you don’t miss the adventures!

All Things Southern – Love thy animal as thyself?

   We’ve become “those” people…(hanging my head in shame)

         Last night we dined with friends to celebrate Hubby’s birthday (he’s 52, but I’ll deny until my last breath that I mentioned that fact).

         We normally see each other about once a week or so, and after catching up with the latest news – our upcoming vacation and theirs, we arrived at the restaurant.

         As things normally go here “down on the bayou”, Hubby knew just about everyone in the place – both those coming and going – so there was a lot of conversation floating around. This also happens to be one of our favorite places to have a steak dinner. It is located along Bayou Lafourche and is a piece meal of a building, having been added on to thru the years. Monday night is steak night and people come from up and down the bayou to feast on their delectable steak and potatoes.

Land of the Bayou. My brother-in-law is 6ft.

         Then – it started – Hubby and I have become “those” people. You know the ones – the ones that talk about their dogs – forever! And, as if that’s not enough, we even have pictures of their latest escapades!

         Yes! We have become “those people”. You see, Calypso has been up to her usual escapades and we think she is nothing short of a genius. Of course, we have to share her antics – even if the audience is our captive audience!

Our family
These dogs are not dumb. And, YES I pulled her for a while. I didn’t say humans weren’t.

        This trick worked – for a while. It was even good at keeping unwanted company at bay. The rule was, if you can’t grab hold of the post and swing your little self around it to the porch; you have to visit from the steps. You would be surprised at what folks will do to have a comfortable place to sit and visit. As you can well imagine, there is a lot of swinging going on at our house.       

           Due to Calypso’s puppy chewing, Hubby came up with the brainstorm of hanging a trawl net across the front porch entrance to keep her off the porch (considering how well this turned out – a more apt name might have been “brain-fart”). She has chewed the legs of two very expensive rockers and the side of a table, not to mention knowing on the 6×6’s that actually support the porch roof. You can see that we’ve had to curtail her activities before the house began falling down around or on top of us.

         Lately, it appears that the only beings being kept off the porch are the human kindRyka has gotten quite comfortable with jumping on and off the porch from the side and Calypso…well, Calypso has figured out how to chew and unhook the net from the eyehooks that Hubby installed along the bottom of the porch. Having figured that out, she now knows that she can slip underneath the net and onto the porch. As you can see in the picture, she gets stuck and then she looks around for help. It is impossible for her to gain traction on the concrete steps and nearly impossible for her to claw the porch for traction. Therefore, she spends a lot of time in this particular position – watching Ryka sit on the porch – until she gets tired and backs herself out from under the net, or I take pity on her and work her under the net.

I know there must be a way.
I thought I could get under.
Help! I need help! Stop laughing and help!

         That’s not the only adventure Calypso and Ryka have had this past week. They managed to sashay across a busy, major highway. Those adventures will be coming soon.

         Meanwhile, we Southerners love our animals and treat them as family members. So, be prepared when visiting your Southern neighbors, to feign interest when they start expounding on the virtues and adventures of their “loved ones”.

Do you hold your company prisoner while extolling the current adventures of your animal’s adventures?

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My Crazy Life – Shampoo and a Blow-dry

March 2, 2012

Yesterday was washing the doggies’ day. The first of the month is also medicine day for Ryka and Calypso. Just to insure the dosage was correct, we weighed Calypso about two months ago. She was at 60 pounds of husky muscle. Ryka had also gained ten pounds and currently weighs in at 70 pounds of pure royalty.



We decided to check Calypso’s weight just to ensure that her dosage was still correct. Easy, you say. Ha! I wish I had pictures of this episode. Hubby got on the scale first (hummm, thought you said you lost weight.) Then, he got off and fussed, and fussed because he was trying to wrap Calypso in a towel before picking her up because she “stunk”. Remember – they live outside. They love to play in the rain (and the lightening, and the thunder.) They are NOT going to smell good! Dogs do NOT smell good when they are wet and they do not smell any better when they dry!


We finally got the towel around a confused Calypso and Hubby stepped on the scale. I am desperately trying to read the number on the scale, while all the while Hubby is fussing (he likes to fuss when it comes to “my” dogs) for me to read the numbers. Now, what he DOESN’T understand is the needle is vibrating back and forth as though it is registering an earthquake on the Richter scale. Seriously! How am I supposed to read a number when it won’t stay on one number!

By that time, Calypso has squirmed enough so the towel has fallen and she has gotten heavy so he steps off (still fussing.) He rewraps her and steps back on the scale. This time the scale was probably thinking, “Let me give them a reading because this might go on forever!” Calypso has gained another five pounds in the last two months (or was that Hubby) – which is surprising because she is so active.

Calypso and Ryka love medicine day! Hubby mixes the meds in potted meat and there is nothing left on the plate when they get through.

Then, it was shampoo time. I put them (by this, I mean I literally shove their heavy butts) on the picnic table out back next to the outside sink. There is hot and cold running water and it makes bath time much more pleasant for them as well as me. By the time I finish washing one dog, I’m soaking wet and it gets cold. Just look at their pictures (aren’t they so pretty after their bath) and you can only imagine bath time.

I stand next to the table and they are face level with me. That means a lot of licking and kissing during bath time. They lick and I rinse my face. They kiss and I rinse my face. This goes on throughout the entire bath (and there are two of them.) Ryka likes to put her soaking wet head on my shoulder and lick my neck while I wash her. Calypso likes to tuck her soaking wet head under my arm and give me hickies up and down my side.

I had Calypso on the table and soaped up when the neighbor started his four-wheeler. That was almost disastrous. I grabbed Calypso just as she was about to bound off the table. Thank goodness, he was only moving it into the barn. After lots and lots of shampoo and rinsing, Calypso and Ryka were both squeaky clean. Even after a brisk toweling, with their coats so thick, they were still wet so I decided I was going to blow-dry them. That turned out to be interesting.

Calypso was first – always has to be first! She had to check out the dryer. She sniffed and looked at it and then I turned it on. The noise made her even more curious (this is a dog that the minute she sees me walk outside in my pink hat, runs for the kennel and her house, because she knows I’m mowing grass and she HATES the lawn mower.) I pointed the dryer at her coat so she could feel the air and then I had to point it at her face so she could experience it. After that, she decided the dryer was a “good thing” and stood quietly while I dried her fur. Ryka liked the warm air and enjoyed being dried. I think I’ve spoiled my dogs even more. But, at least they weren’t rolling around in the freshly cut yard, in the grass, getting dirty while trying to dry themselves.

The effort was worth it because they are so beautiful and snuggly soft now.

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My Crazy Life – October 6, 2011 – Dog Obedience Class

            Calypso and I had our first private obedience class on Tuesday this week. Ryka got to come as well. She is after all, Calypso’s biggest distraction. I had been working on the ‘sit’ command for a while and both dogs are good about sitting, so we moved on to ‘sit and wait’. This command sounds a lot easier in theory than in reality. The idea is to get Calypso and Ryka to sit and wait until I open the door or fix their food (you get the picture) and I give them the command to come.

Ryka (front) and Calypso

Calypso was doing really well until we added the door opening. She thought we were leaving the Pet Smart classroom and going home. It took ten minutes to get her to settle down and refocus, which allowed me a little time to work with Ryka. Have I mentioned how bored Ryka seems to be with the whole ‘listen’ concept? She listens, follows the command, takes her treat, looks at me, and turns around to find a corner or spot to lie down and watch. She seems to be telling me, “Been there, and got the t-shirt Mom. It’s Calypso’s turn to listen.”

Well, Calypso is nowhere near getting the proverbial t-shirt yet. As soon as I was able to gain her attention once again, I made her sit and just rattled the door. At least she didn’t jump and bolt for the door this time. I tried the door rattle a few more times and she waited so I opened the door just a tad a few times. Calypso was very good about waiting. Finally, I gave her the command to sit and wait and I opened the door wide. I have to give her credit. She sat and waited. She did not try to get up and leave. I still haven’t figured out if I am more proud or her or me. At this point, the instructor (Dory) explained to me the difference between ‘sit and wait’ and ‘sit and stay’. She also told me that the dogs would find them a little confusing in the beginning but eventually they would catch on.

It’s Friday and Calypso has already distinguished between the two – as long as Ryka is not around. She likes to run Ryka off and then come back for individual attention. She is what I call a rat of the worse kind.

With those two commands under our belt, we advanced to the ‘come’ command. You can start laughing now because it was that funny. Calypso likes to pretend she ‘doesn’t get it’. I am still hoping that no one I knew was in Pet Smart on Tuesday. There’s a good chance since we live 45 minutes away. Ryka had taken up residence in the kennel for a nap (on her own.) I guess she thought that if she pretended to be invisible, she would not have to participate.

We put Calypso on a thirty-foot leash and headed out into the store. Once Calypso got about ten feet in front of me, I practiced calling her and getting her to come back. Then, we let her advance to twenty and then thirty. Would you like to take a guess at what happened at thirty feet? If you guessed that she went exploring, you would be right.

Pet Smart is set up for animals like Wal-Mart is set up for kids. There are bins and shelves, all at eye level, to catch their attention and draw them in. This is where the ‘puppy dog face’ act came from. Calypso doesn’t particularly care for bones but she knows that her sister, Ryka, does so she decided to pick one out for her. Then, she found the balls, which is her favorite toy. After Calypso had completed her shopping, we went back to the task at hand. Turns out I was using the wrong tone of voice to call her. So, armed with my ‘new’ voice (wish I had a tape of it) I began to work on the ‘come’ command. Since Calypso insisted on exploring the store, I was trailing behind her calling, “Calypso, come. Come Calypso.” I am still feeling mortified! The new tone does work wonders but I feel like an idiot (of the worse kind.)

We also played hide and seek. I would go down the different isles and then call her. The instructor said that she put her ears and head down and when she saw me, she perked up. I think it’s a good sign that she was at least glad to see me.

Then, Ryka came to join us. There were many people in the store that became absolute statues, as two huge German Shepherds walked up to them and began sniffing them. I guess if they were not my dogs, I would be a little intimidated by them as well. I have grabbed them by the tail and pulled them to me when that was all I could reach (although I would NOT recommend this tactic to anyone else.)

I think our lessons went really well for the first day. They were more than eager to leave the store when it was time to go. However, our adventures were not over for the day. It was finally the day when I could get a new phone so we headed over to the AT&T store.

I am giving a shout out to the great salesperson that helped me in case she is reading this. Thanks Brandy!! She was fantastic and so patient. Jessica had to get a new phone too so we met up at the store to do our shopping together. We had so many questions and Brandy was an absolute doll. She also has a dog so she was very patient when I had to make several trips out to the car to let Calypso and Ryka walk around. Especially since Ryka insisted on crossing over the seats to sit next to a window. She is fine in the back of the suburban as long as we are traveling, but left to her own devices, she would rather be in a seat.

Calypso had no choice but to stay put as she was in her kennel. Had they been welcome in the store, they would have sat at my feet, but, alas, that was not an option. They were really quite patient and soon we were on our way home.

Tune in next week for more on our adventures at doggie obedience class. We will be learning how to walk on a leash (as oppose to pulling our master with the leash.)

My Crazy Life – September 19, 2011 – So, I ran over a pecan tree…

As I posted last week, Calypso and I began Obedience Training on Saturday at Pet Smart. My little rambunctious dog was the biggest dog and the most well behaved in class. We arrived a little early and toured the store. She loved sniffing at everything but surprisingly, she did not pick up one item.

The manager tried to give her a treat – flavored popcorn – and Calypso turned her nose up at it. She also turned up her nose at a second treat. I took pity on the manager and gave her one of the treats I brought along for training class. Calypso gobbled it up, no questions asked.

We then went to the training room to wait for the other dogs and the instructor. I dropped Calypso’s leash and let her walk around to explore since we were alone. A couple of minutes later, another dog and owner arrived. The minute the woman opened the door and her dog (a Boxer) came face to face with Calypso he peed on the floor. She cleaned the mess only for the dog to look at Calypso a second time with the same reaction. I was like “Go Calypso” –not aloud –  I know, totally rude and inappropriate even it was only in my head. Calypso didn’t do anything; she was standing there being good.

In our class, we have five dogs, some kind of yip-yapping terrier looking dog, an English bulldog, an Alaskan Husky, a Boxer, and Calypso, a German shepherd. Calypso did not care for so many dogs and all of the noise that accompany them. She sat down as close to my chair as she could and periodically tried to climb in my lap. She eventually ventured out on her own and growled at the other dogs. I was curious before we went about how she might react to other dogs, but she really did not want anything to do with them. Of course, we were not on her territory. That would probably have created an entirely different scenario.

The instructor was very good and her instruction techniques were easy to understand and implement. Calypso was a willing participant and did very well. She is learning the hand signal for sit and is actually listening better. The woman sitting next to me was a trip. She would tell her dog to sit and give him a treat and then the dog stopped listening and lay down. She told him, “oh well, just lay there and be good.” I was wondering what in the world was she doing. We were clearly in obedience class and she was telling the dog it was okay not to listen. This class should prove very interesting, although we may not be there much longer. Pet Smart also offers private lessons and I am considering switching over. It is a four-week class as opposed to six weeks and Calypso is not fond of the noise and chaos of the other dogs. I have to admit also that the chaos and lack of space aren’t working well for me either. Another plus would be the individual attention for an hour and the chance to work more intensely with Calypso on learning the commands. That actually appeals to me more than the socialization of so many animals.

I am having so much fun now with the “sit” command and sign language. I make them sit for everything. I am really being bad about it (laughing.) They come to the door and they sit. I let them in. They follow me around as I fill their bowls with their food (and make them sit). Then they race to the door to go out and I make them sit. I open the door and we go outside like ladies.

Plowing the garden






On Sunday, Hubby decided to plow his garden

Hubby heading to the back with choppers on the tractor

and plant a few potatoes. Of course, he wanted help, so I loaded up the dogs in their wagon and we rode to the garden to watch. Yes! Watch! He really didn’t plant that much so my help – other than company – wasn’t really needed. I was the “dog’s driver”. I hooked up their wagon to the lawn mower and we made several trips from the house (front) to the garden (back) and back; and then several more trips around the garden (just for fun.) Don’t they look like they were enjoying themselves? I cannot let them out of the wagon because of all the tall grass. We’ve had an issue with ticks before and I am more than a little paranoid about them. Therefore, for their protection – and my delicateness – they stay in the wagon.

Ryka (back) and Calypso

Ryka likes to hang over the side and watch the tall grass go by. It is the funniest thing to watch. Calypso just stands there. She is beginning to get comfortable with riding. She is not crazy about lawn mowers or noise.

(My blog post was too long so check above for Part II!)