Monday, April 22, 2013

The Owls Have It

I am really starting to catch up on all of these art classes that I am taking online.  I am embarrassed to say that I have started one that actually opened up over a year ago.  I just couldn't get to it.  But, I am now and boy is it fun.  The class is called The Art of Wild Abandonment and it is taught by the totally adorable and a little bit goofy Junelle Jacobson.  You can find her blog at Yes and Amen.  The class is offered through my favorite site, Scarlet Lime.

Now, get ready for it, it is a drawing/sketching class.  Seriously.  I can't do that.  I can do balloons.  And I can sketch a mean bat and maybe an arched up kitty or two, but that's about the extent of my talents.  My preschoolers think that I am a great artist,and folks, that's about as high level as it goes.  However, Junelle breaks it down ... a lot ... so that even I can accomplish a thing or two.

We started out with radishes.  Say what?  Yup.  Radishes.  But you know what?  They are just circles. I can do circles.  I am a pro at circles.  Could you draw them in a boat?  Yes, I could draw them in a boat.  With a goat?  I could draw them in a boat.  I could draw them with a goat.  I can draw circles.  Yes, I can.

I now have several watercolored thumbnails of radishes.  I also have some rotting radishes on one of my art tables in the Batcave.  Yuck.

We then moved on to owls.  They are just lots of circles.  I can do owls.  I do not however, have an owl in the Batcave.  He would eat the bats.

For more close ups of radishes and owls go here.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

More Rachisms

I have some sad news to report.  Rach is fine, but he will soon be leaving our house for his mommy's new digs.  Alaska Girl has found a roommate and a house locally and she is most likely leaving tonight. She slept on our couch last night since her sister's bed that she is borrowing is now at the new place.  While the cats will all be overjoyed and will probably throw a huge party tonight, I will miss that little dude.  I will miss our daily walks and I will miss talking to him.  At least HE listens to me.

So, in honor of Rach's new digs, I want to throw out a couple more Rachisms.

Leap for what you want!

Chase the ball and keep chasing it until you are trembling with exhaustion.  Then grab a breath and chase it some more.  I have seen this dog keep on going like the Ever Ready Bunny.  He never gives up. I truly think he would keep on until his paws bled.

Stay focused!  When Rach wants to chase something, his whole body changes.  He dances sideways, is taut and ready to go and is just as anxious as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs.  But his eyes never leave the prize, whether it's a ball, a squirrel, or (his new favorite) a bunny. (The only thing that trips him up is when there is a squirrel on the left and a bunny on the right.  Decisions, decisions.)

Avoid being caught when it's time to leave a great place, but then leave graciously.  There's always the ride home!  Rach really does not ever want to leave the park.  Why should he?  There are other dogs, people, new toys, food, water; everything a dog could ever want AND he's not restrained.  But, after avoiding us for a while he gives in and allows us to lead him to the car.  Then he joyously hangs his head out of the window and drools.  He is totally in the moment.  Always.

So, here's to you Rach.  We will miss you.  Oh, and if the cops come by tonight, you know the cat party was awesome!

 PS:  Alaska Girl assures me that we will be allowed visitation rights and alternate weekends.  Yay.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Squirrel! or, How to Survive a Walk with The Rach

The Rach is a fun dog.  But he is difficult to walk.  In his humble (or not) opinion, all critters belong to him and he needs to go after them.  All of them.  He is especially focused on one critter in particular.  The squirrel.  He feels that it is imperative that he chase each and every squirrel that he encounters.  We don't like to get angry with him because it is only his instinct telling him what to do.  Tree the critter.  Of course, we are short on bears here in suburban Iowa, so The Rach has to focus on the squirrels.  All of them.  All. Of. Them.

We use a collar called the Gentle Leader.  It has completely transformed our walks and is the only way that I can manage him without dislocating both of my shoulders.  It does not, however, take the squirrel hunt out of the dog.  

We have a new DOLA (Dog Off Leash Area) here in town that is a mile or less from the house.  Since the weather was actually warmer than normal (for like the 3rd time this spring), I decided to walk him over.  Below is the transcript of our walk.  I know this because The Rach is so transparent and easy to read.

Walk walk walk walk 

SQUIRREL!  oh please oh please let me get it please please please ple...

Walk walk walk walk 
walk walk walk wa...

SQUIRREL!  I know I can get it it just went up that tree and I like to climb trees oh please oh please
Walk walk walk walk
walk walk wal...

SQUIRREL!  I can get it yes I can you are mean let me at it you are mean let me at it

Walk walk

SQUIRREL!  please please please let me at it

Walk walk walk walk

Well, you get the idea.  The squirrels are out after their long winter sleep.  And there are a lot of them.  And each one has been targeted by The Rach to fulfill his own personal squirrel vendetta.  It almost makes me wish we had bears.  Almost.

This little cutie came to the DOLA while we were there.

I know the pic is bad, but so cute!  Rach is so gentle.

A 'Rachism' in action:  share everything (more this week)

Pretty Boy!

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Societal Implications of Butt Sniffing

We are lucky to have two DOLA parks (Dog Off Leash Area) in our community.  They are fenced and well maintained.  I have gone with Rach and Swim Girl to the one by the Mississippi a couple of times now.  This past week as it was warming up (relatively speaking anyway), Swim Girl asked me to go with her to take him to the Dog Park.  I said okay and a little later I grabbed my camera and we left.

Sometimes I can see more when I am looking through my lens.  It was while I was snapping shots of The Rach that I realized our canines are far smarter than we are and we need to follow their lead.

So, I came up with some bullet points that I like to call "Rachisms".   Here are a few.

Enjoy the Ride!  Lean your head out of the window and soak it all in with the sun on your face and the wind in your hair.  Sometimes, getting there is the most fun of all.  And it's okay to drool in anticipation.

Tug and Pull Your Way to Where You Want to Go!  Rach cannot wait to get where he wants to be.   Now what was my excuse again?

Stay Calm and Sniff a Lot of Butts!  While the
doggies may run around like crazy once they are
inside the DOLA, when it comes to approaching a potential new friend they remain calm and sniff butts politely.  They know instinctively which animals may be too shy for company and they back off if warned.  But guess what?  They come
back and gently try again.  And again.  And again.  They try until it's time to go home or they have a new friend.  I bet we all know someone who needs that gentleness and I bet they have a pretty ferocious bark that keeps us away!

Greet Everyone!  Rach and the others never ignored a new dog coming into the area.  The new friend was greeted and his/her butt was sniffed.  Then normal activities resumed.  In this day of Social Networking, it's easy to forget how to actually sniff some butts and say hi!  I think it just might be time to put down the cell phone.

Well, I do have more "Rachisms", but you're supposed to always leave them wantin' more, so may I just say, Happy Butt Sniffing!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Peep Slaughter

I am known as Aunt 'Nisey to my nieces and nephews.  I am also known to them by these words (quoted from my nephew):  "She's not even like a grown up!"  I want that said at my funeral.

My nephew (ReStore Man) had a birthday while I was visiting.  Makeup Mom and I went to the store to get his cards and gifts.  We had decided to make him a cake.  When I first asked him what kind of cake he wanted he told me carrot cake with some kind of frosting.  After I spit up in my mouth a little, I questioned whether he really meant that.  He said no!  So chocolate it is!

This poor Peep was split in two.
Now, sometimes I have been known to start a little trouble.  I don't do it very often, but when I do, watch out.  We were frosting ReStore Man's cake when I had a brilliant idea.  We would add Peeps.  But we wouldn't just stick them on.  Oh no!  There would be Peeps blood shed on this day.

Twilight Girl was on board immediately and ran to get the Peeps.  Makeup Mom kept yelling, "No.  Don't hurt the Peeps."  I reminded her that I had baked and frosted the cake and we would do what I wanted.  Besides, any self respecting teenage boy would love it.  We then had a discussion on the best knife to use for Peep beheading.

So, one pack of yellow Peeps and some red food coloring did the trick.  ReStore Man loved it!

PS:  I personally love Peeps.  Yum.

I think perhaps it was a Medieval force that skewered this one.

Uh, yeah, the splatters were my idea.  Much more realistic, don't you think?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Glad to Be Back (Sort Of)

I made it safely to and from the Valley of the Sun.  My friends know that I don't really like to fly.I just sit in my aisle seat, close my eyes and pray.  So far, so good.

My niece and I at a restaurant that I called Duck and Cover,
but that is actually called Duck and Decanter (as in wine).
If you have ever flown Allegiant Air, you know that they provide cheap direct flights to great places out of obscure airports like, say, Moline.  Unfortunately for me (and most women I know) their weight limit is 40 lbs for a checked bag.  This is hard.  I barely made it under on the way out.  I have two boxes coming home from my sister with the rest of my stuff.  I just couldn't stay under 40 lbs.  I mean, a girl has to have her shoes.  And she has to shop.  She may even have to shop for shoes.

Leaving Iowa any time of the year is okay with me, but I especially enjoy it when it is cold out and I am going somewhere warm.  For example, the day before I left for Arizona our high here was 34 degrees. Now, I have absolutely no issue with going to a place that is in the upper 80's.  In fact, I left with no regrets and spent the rest of the week making people stuck here feel bad through my Facebook posts.  I especially loved it when they got snow.  Yup.  That's how I roll.

To me, Diet Coke is the nectar of the Gods.

My niece (known on this blog as Twilight Girl) and my sister (Makeup Mom).  We don't look alike at all.

I gave Twilight Girl my camera and I think maybe her mom was getting annoyed with the amount of clicking going on during lunch.

Here I am laughing at the snow they are getting in Iowa while I am sitting outside enjoying the weather in Phoenix.  I have no sense of shame whatsoever.  None.  

Chocolate Fudge Pudding on the carpet update:  While I was gone, my hubby and kids cleaned the carpets.  It looks better, but we will always have a sweet reminder of Rach's adventure.