Wednesday, December 19, 2007
It is tradition each year to bring a gift for the puppy gift exchange at our puppy club holiday party. This year, LW brought a cute, little stuffed Rudolph reindeer –“squeaky noise included”. Other gifts for the holiday exchange included treats and snacks. These various and sundry holiday offerings were then lined up on the floor, and starting with the youngest puppy each is given opportunity to sniff and then select their favorite. LW as a 6 month old, is still among the youngest, so with her turn, there were plenty of interesting packages from which to choose. Wonderful, delicious holiday offerings including nylabones and snausage treats as well as colorful stuffed animals (the likes of which my granddaughter would envy); it was a puppy’s greatest dream. So, off we go with the anticipation of sniffing each and every secret surprise, of savoring the moment and after careful selection making the “perfect choice.” Our goal: to obtain the best available gift to be gleaned from this stack of endless holiday joy possibilities. So when her turn arrives, LW grabs the first bag she comes to (sigh) and claims her prize. (PS to the raiser who brought this gift, my apologies) As we unwrap this prize and much to the delight of LW, what was revealed is by far the ugliest blue “thing” you could imagine on the planet. In my mind’s eye, I could already hear the crowd of onlookers, in a manner similar to the gallery of a golf match when the star player misses the putt by mere inches: “ohhhhhhhh!” As I stared down at the object which has four blue appendages hanging from an oblong object that could have been a blue head….or was it the other end? I wasn’t sure. But LW absolutely loved it! She couldn’t have been happier if you’d handed her a bag of kibble! After closer study, this small blue furry mass appeared to be an Octopus albeit with only four legs. As a result, we have now named it the “Quadrapus” and since that fateful night she claimed it as her own; LW is rarely without it. We’re unsure if its because she’s merely inquisitive, and like us, wants to know exactly what it is, or if she’s intrigued by its beauty. They say there’s a gift for everyone and its these varying tastes that “make the world go round”. But in this case, I think its merely the canine equivalent of a time honored human tradition. The “quadrapus” can be considered the “fruitcake of dog toys.”
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Our local home improvement center held a free children’s workshop. The project was a “make and take” memory box, the perfect handmade gift for the upcoming holiday season. This was another great opportunity to get LW out and used to the type of environs in which she would be working one day. It was the picture of perfection as these future Ty Penningtons and Martha Stewarts arrived to build their “hands on” present. The first several children to arrive were escorted to long tables, which were set up in preparation for the day’s activity complete with boxes of popcorn. The youngsters were then instructed on how to complete the task at hand. After tying on their own little orange apron, they reached for the nearest hammer and the banging began. Within moments of the first nail being smacked with a hammer, hundreds of children appeared, a hundred and forty-three to be exact. Suddenly, chaos and mayhem erupted, popcorn went flying everywhere to the sound of hammers pounding away, and there in the middle of it all sat one little black lab puppy!
Friday, December 7, 2007
As of this writing, the first light snowfall of the winter season has hit the Garden State and temps are hovering in the teens and twenties. While this is a minor inconvenience to motorists and outdoors aficionados, it wasn’t entirely unexpected. Media outlets o’plenty actually predicted more snow than was received. This; however, didn’t stop those who heard it from planning for the worse and in my travels the signs of it were everywhere. While standing in line at the local Home Depot, I overhead someone enquiring about the price of snow blowers, and saw carts stacked high with rock salt. At the auto parts store, I handed the clerk a spark plug. “What’s this for?” he inquired. “A snow blower” I replied with a frown. “Preparation or wishful thinking?” He asked. “My reasoning is that if its in perfect working order, we won’t get a flake.” (sort of a reverse take on the car wash and rain theory) He laughed and turned to get the plug from a huge rack of parts behind him. Many people were bagging the last of the leaves to place at the curb prior to them being covered with snow on the grass. Like everyone else, my prep plans included getting up the last of the leaves, so I set about doing this last week with the help of my little, black, enthusiastic friend. As I raked and bagged, she perused the fenced yard with abandon, casually looking and sniffing about. As time passed, my attention was drawn to the fact that she was paying particularly close attention to one bush. A closer examination showed some fruit and seeds on the ground, which seemed to draw her attention (and appetite) like a magnet. Glancing up, I noticed a tree in close proximity to the fence line had dropped some late season pomegranate-like fruit… I also noted that LW had consumed many of these quickly (including their seeds) before I could shoo her away. Needless to say, a few short hours later, like a kid who had consumed too much candy, this minor bit of gluttony came back to haunt us both. Soon, my nice clean yard was dotted with bits of color (that’s all I’ll say here) and after one of the worst hacking noises I’ve ever heard, we relived a scene from the movie alien. Ahhh!!!! Where’s Sigourney Weaver when you need her? At any rate, I quickly consulted those “in the know” about this fruit and determined its harmlessness. My sources did indicate however this fruit (some of which was already into fermentation stage when consumed by my little holiday reveler, was filled with lots of natural sugar!) Now, we all know what fermented sugar turns into, don’t we? And, so, the holiday cheer continued for hours. Bouncing off the fence with exuberance and flying about the back yard with reckless abandon it occurred to me the only thing missing was the lampshade. Let the Holiday festivities begin!