Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A kinder, gentler Daphne

Due to Daphne's health issues, our trip to Long Island this past weekend included our little friend. She is diabetic, and as such, she is a tough sell in the dogsitter community. Not everyone is interested in giving her the required two shots per day. My sister-in-law Joanne was gracious enough to include Daphne in our invitation, and so, off we went at 4:30 AM on Saturday morning. My dental appointment was at 9:00 AM, and we were perfectly on time. It's a quiet world at 4:30 AM, and we made good time. Gassing up and loading up on travel accoutrements takes some time. I have become a tea drinker in the past year, and if I have the choice, tea it is. The problem with being gluton-free is that there are not alot of choices in travel-fare. Most often I pick Rice-Krispie treats. Not a great choice for a diabetic, but I'm trying to balance a number of health issues and having SOMETHING to eat in the car for a four hour trip is my goal. Of course, I also had packed some gluton-free corn bread that I had baked, but having eaten this same corn bread for a full day I was growing tired of it. Variety, being the spice of life, is not finding a balance in my world. So, I did the rice krispy treat, and I was satisfied. Sometimes Jerry will get an egg sandwich with "meat", but the only part of THAT that I covet is his bread. I can't imagine eating a "meat" that is only identifiable by that name. If you can't tell me what the name of the meat you are serving, I don't think I need to sample it. But my point was this, sometimes in the car the odor of said "Meat" becomes a little overpowering and I have a sensitive stomach (among other things) so I am just concentrating on breathing IN and OUT. Trying not to hurl requires alot of concentration. Then Jerry will say "what's wrong?" and I will have to stop my concentrated breathing to answer "nothing, nothing!" It's a real challenge. But, I was talking about Daphne wasn't I? She was placed on my lap for the trip down the mountain, because she was fully awake and quite honestly, probably a little stunned that she had picked the short straw and was travelling with us, while the other two dogs stayed at home. A one-dog trip amounts to a lottery win in their world. Spoiled! When we made our stop at Stewart's, she was placed in the back seat, and after a few turns, she found her comfortable spot on my coat, and proceeded to sleep for the rest of the trip. She's a good traveller. She was also quite comfortable on a seat that she usually has to share with Allison. Did I say spoiled? We made our trip down and arrived at Dr. Lee's at 8:50 AM, with enough time to catch up and then set to work. It's always good to see the folks that we miss, and Dr. Lee and his staff are among them. Daphne was given a quick introduction and whisked out, lest OSHA get wind of a visiting dog in the dental office. Once we arrived at Clint and Joanne's Daphne was happy to meet up with her cousin TEDDY, a malty-poo who is quite friendly and happy to greet ANYONE! I don't think I've ever heard Teddy with a bark that says anything other than COME IN! So off they went to scamper all over the fenced in yard (new to Daphne's world) without a human in attendance. This was a big deal. Here we are always shadowing our dogs when they are outside. No such thing as a fence, just eagle eyes. So for Daphne it was a new experience. Running across the pool cover was also a new activity, demonstrated ably by Teddy, who lounged in the center getting soaked. Daphne was a little more reticent, just dipping her feet. The rest of the day went along like that, with bits of dog activity throughout. The the real love-fest was on Sunday, when two other canine cousins arrived for the Easter celebration. Cody who was from Connecticut, a pug terrier mix, and Blue who is really Daphne's canine-nephew, but in the dog world we don't quibble about relationships, we just sniff! This roving pack of small dogs (the largest being 16 lbs) was all over the house, happily traveling together and checking out the whole house. Lots of scrambling and tail wagging ensued, but never a growl! They all got along beautifully! We managed to get on the road at 6 PM, and Daphne slept the whole way home. That's a four-hour trip for those who haven't been paying attention. When we got home, at 11 PM (gotta love that Easter traffic!) Daphne entered the house like a visiting dignitary. Again, the tails were wagging and everyone was glad to see us. We often wonder what is going through the dogs minds, and Daphne's disappearance must have caused a few questions among the boys we left behind. But she was home, and all was well. It was a great weekend all in all, and our family visits were even better than Daphne's. Having an eighty degree day on Long Island was like a gift. It brought the onset of spring here as well. Today, we'll have another day where we break 70, and for us, that is extraordinary! The new Daphne has been much sweeter since we arrived home, I guess she knows she was given a gift-a private weekend with Mom and Dad. It kind of takes the sting out of giving those shots! Kinda.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Winter Redux

I am saying a hopeful "welcome spring" although the thermometer this morning said 28 degrees. It does burn off quickly and makes way for a warmer afternoon, but still, at the end of April I would like to report that spring things are moving along. The crocus' that I saw while laying in the pond with Jake have not made any more progress since I was there. The only growth I have seen are the weeds in the pond, and they are growing thicker each day. Why is that? Why is it that the weeds seem to be growing while none of the beauty flowers are getting any larger? Isn't that always the case? In the happy department, what I am seeing more of are birds! Birds of all feathers are flocking to our sanctuary and enjoying the new feeders are suet containers we hung last week. The finches are flitting here and there, and making their presence know all over the fields. The old saying "birds of a feather flock together" is never more obvious than with finches! Yes they do! It is remarkable to me how an abrupt turn left or right is made by birds in a flock on a split second of time! Left! And left they all turn, continuing their urgent flight to whichever tree or branch they decided on. It is a tightly choreographed flight that is remarkable in its abilities. If you asked me which of God's creatures had the precision of a marching band, I would not have said birds. And yet, they are the only ones that move with that kind of forethought and arranged movement. I don't tire of their show out my back window. No matter how bad the weather appears each day, I never tire of the view I am blessed to own. The wind was howling yesterday, strong enough to send a heavy metal deck chair across the yard. Strong enough to force Bailey to find safety behind the wood stove in the kitchen. If we remember back to the first Days of March, how beautiful and warm and lovely they were, I am also reminded of the old saying "March, in like a lamb, out like a lion." I think maybe that here in the northeast that saying can be extended into April. Perhaps the writer lived south of here? Because spring here in the Northeast saves itself until the first part of May. I don't think we'll see the warmth of spring until the beginning of May. I am learning the ways of upstate NY. We are more closely related to Canada than to Long Island when it comes to weather patterns. And the weather pattern here means that the winter doesn't end until May. So I continue to watch the birds and keep myself close to the pellet stove for warmth. Lounging on the back deck will not happen until the warmth of the sun reaches our chairs. I wish all of you a Happy Passover and a Blessed Easter. Wherever you are, I hope you find the sun!

Monday, April 11, 2011

No Thank You

Why do we have such a hard time saying NO? I think for people like me, who are inherently polite, saying NO amounts to a rejection that we are unable to vocalize. Of course I don't want what they're selling, otherwise I would have taken it upon myself to purchase it from a reliable, less expensive source. And yet, I still find myself unable to say those words to a stranger on the telephone - No Thank You. I don't take offense when it is told to me, at least if it is said politely, but telling the unknown voice at the other end that I am not interested in their product is one ofis the most difficult things I'm ever asked to do. And I'm asked to say it alot. We seem to get alot of telemarketer calls in the morning hours when Jerry is away from home. When I tell the party that he is not available, they sometimes will move right to me. Other times, like when the NRA calls, they only want Jerry, and will call 10 or 15 times until they get him. That happens to be a rejection I don't have much problem with. Oooops, political commentary, sorry. I try to stay away from that. Anyway, the marketing calls which we're usually subjected to are from people for products that we don't really want. You don't see alot of telemarketing for UGGS, or Canoes. These products tend to sell themselves, and people looking to purchase them do the footwork themselves, finding out where there desired product is and getting it/them. So I guess telemarketing is a bit indicative of whether your product is selling well, or not. If you are in the place where you have to hire a telemarketer in order to move your inventory, start looking for a different career path. I don't think the product is taking off in the manner which they desired. I hesitate to use the word failure, but that's the road it's taking. I don't have much faith in the telemarketing system. In fact, I believe any sales made through telemarketing methods should be immediately voided, since they couldn't possibly have been made through acceptable methods. As a former telemarketer myself, I can tell you that you will not find a less invested employee than a telemarketer. Working for publisher's clearinghouse, as many homeworkers in Port Washington, Long Island were, my only interest was in getting through my hours and picking up my paycheck. Calling to try and re-up subscriptions for all the magazines that Publisher's carried was not an interesting job, much less inspiring. I was an uncomfortable telemarketer and it showed in my sales. I tended to agree with those customers who "went off" on telemarketers, and now that I am on the other end, I find it very difficult to turn down a telemarketer. I feel sorry for them. I know that this is not the job they would have picked, it is the job which they are stuck in. And so, saying No Thank You to that poor bastard on the other end of the line would be the final rejection that I don't want to have to say. And so, sometimes hanging up without any comment is the best I can do. I know that if we get into dialogue, I will become a mushy mess who just purchased something I don't really want. Subscription renewals, insurance packages and other such unsaleable items are what they're selling. Now, with telephone numbers identifying themselves on the television screen, at least we have a heads up. I can compose my most staunch mindset before I pick up the phone. Then, when I hear the first words of the sales pitch, I can simply hang up. No Thank You only leads them to another page in their script and we can get into dialogue that goes on for hours. No thank you.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Aaaah. Snow. How delightful.

Not. Although I have chosen to take the road marked high (what better road to take?) I'm having a tough time with this. I don't mind blustery big flakes that don't seem to matter, but waking up to a healthy dusting of white this morning was just a bit more than my cheerful nature could take. We're up one dog-to four, and I felt like kicking every one of them. Not that kicking dogs is ever an option. Ever. But that doesn't mean you don't feel like it sometimes. Thankfully, none of the people were home. Allison had blazed a bright and cheerful way out the door this morning (good bye to THAT!) and Jerry was working an early shift today. So I was managing dog chores in the a.m. Following Jake on his morning constitutional, I could see how much he appreciated my shadowy presence written all over his face. He has no idea that I would rather be inside by the pellet stove enjoying my first cup of tea. He's not as interested in reading my face as I am in reading his. Jerry is anticipating working the early shift on Wednesdays until October, and this allows him to take part in the Wednesday night riding group at the stable. Wednesdays have been the shining spot in my week for awhile, and now adding Jerry to our group makes it perfect. All in all, things here at Blue Line Farm are settling in. Spring never comes easy here, and each breakthrough is celebrated by anyone who witnesses it. Yesterday I spoke to a gentlemen who stated that seeing the robins through the snow was his favorite thing. Mine? Seeing the robins by the side of the birdbath, swimming in 90 degree weather. We've a ways to go before that takes hold, but I did see some crocus-type blooms on the side of the pond last Sunday, when I was laying in the water with Jake. It wasn't first and foremost in my mind at that moment, but it has come back to me now that I have the time to ponder it all. Our riding instructor Ron keeps telling us that as soon as the weather breaks we can ride outside. Week after week we are still in the arena, riding around. I am not complaining at all. Inside the arena you can smell the earth and other barn smells, and to my mind, it all smells like spring. I'm ready. Have been for quite some time. Now that I am more able to see the garden area, I can assess what we will need to get started this year. We're going to need a roto-tiller. I can't take it on myself. I am thinking of planting tomatoes in two locations-so as to avoid the blight again. I know that last year was blight-free-but like all gardeners-once burned twice shy. I'm starting to sound like an old soul aren't I? What's up with that?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Mixed Emotions

That's how you describe snow falling on the newly revealed green grass. Calling it grass is a bit of a stretch, but it is somewhat green compared to the snow. But now some big white flakes are falling from the sky. What's that about? That's what I'm feeling about the weather-thrilled that we're seeing some green, and annoyed that more snow is falling. My mixed emotions at home are this-I'm thrilled that Jake is feeling better and that his foray into the pond left no long-term effects, but so aware that we are coming to the end. He is not safe enough anymore to be left alone, but we're still aware that he is enjoying his life and adding so much to ours. When and where do you draw the line? We said that it would be when he lets us know, but will he let us know? Is falling into the pond and being unable to get out a sign? I don't want Jake to feel one minute of pain, not one second. And yet, I know the humiliation he feels when these things happen is terrible, and I feel for him. Is that the sign? Our hearts break everytime he fails at something. The stairs, lying down, walking around the property. He will cover himself with bluff sometimes. "RUFF, RUFF" that deep and bellowous bark that he has. But this is a dog who needs assistance coming from the bedroom, where his bed is, to the living room, because the floors are waxed to a shine. His feet have come out from under him, and his embarassment is palpable. We cry for him alot these days. And yet, when he comes and puts his head in your lap, groaning with the pleasure of having his ears rubbed, it is hard not to feel that his life is good and he is happy. Because the happiness he gives is tremendous. Is it that "old blue eyes" is getting old, and that is a sign of our aging? I think it is bigger than that. We are more than a reflection of each other. We are friends. I know that there is nothing that Jake wouldn't do for us, if he could. I don't feel that connection with the other dogs. I love them, they love us, but with Jake it has always been different. He seems to want to cover our backs, so to speak. Is that possible with a dog? I think so. He is always waiting for our signal, looking for a sign, and turns inside out with happiness when he knows he has pleased us. Our tenderness is equal. We want what is best for him, and yet we want him to be happy. The leash is an indignity that he is not happy with. He has been roaming our property for a number of years now. I have taken to shadowing him on his walks. He knows I'm behind him, and has even tried to lose me on occasion, but I am diligent. My fear for him is that he will encounter something that he cannot handle, and we won't know where he is to help him. And so, I make sure I'm with him, whether he likes it or not (regardless of my attire too-pajamas,boots and a raincoat) Is this where the end begins? Will he become less inclined to enjoy his walks because I'm with him? Will he begin to miss those early morning exploration walks through the brush, sniffing all the smells there are to find. I would like to think that he and I could enjoy a companionable walke with each other, but my ability to climb up steep hills and over ditches is greatly limited. I'm not the best walking partner you could hope for if you like to go climbing. For now, we'll just muddle along. But as I said-mixed emotions.

Monday, April 4, 2011

and how was YOUR weekend?

We did fine. Had a lovely weekend right up until Sunday afternoon when Jake, the 120 pound lab/great dane mix when out for a walk and fell in the pond. Now, we don't let our dogs "roam" in the true sense of the word. But with nine acres we do give them a larger sense of freedom than they are used to. When we lived on Long Island, it was leashes all the time. That was what they were used to. Since we've lived here full time, they have gradually been given a little more rope to go out, do their business, explore a little, and come back. We are aware of their proximity all the time, and they are with us in the house most of the time, except for Bailey, who lays in the sun on the porch. He is a dog who is used to roaming within a close promixity and coming back quicky. When Jake hadn't come right back (ten minutes or so?) Allison went out to see where he was. Looking left from the porch she saw Jake, laying by the side of the pond, with his hind quarters in the pond. He was stuck. Screaming to me, she and I ran outside to the far side of the pond where Jake was laying. Jake's arthritis is so bad that on occasion his back legs will give out, and he has to be lifted up. On solid ground, this is a task that only Jerry can really do. He's just too heavy. With half his body in freezing cold water, it was near impossible for Allison and I. But we tried. Pushing and pulling it took us about five minutes to get Jake up the side a little, but he was still dragging into the pond. He was no help at all. At that point, Allison called Jerry who was in town and told him he had to come and help us. Allison got a quilt and a towel from inside the house, and I had laid Jake alongside my legs and body so I could give him a little warmth. He was in what looked like shock. Allie and I were sobbing and crying as we pushed and pulled and tried to get him fully out of the water. The pond has a bottom of mud and muck, and trying to get a good footing is impossible. Everytime I stepped onto the bottom at the shoreline, I would sink further in. He was just laying there and looking at me with his sad blue eyes, which were glazed over like I had never seen before. We finally both grabbed under his front legs, at the elbow, and we were able to get him fully out of the water. We all laid and sat at the shoreline of the pond, catching our breath, talking to Jake and each other, and waiting for Jerry. All the while this had been going on, a good twenty minutes, Bailey had been circling around us at a distance. Now, Bailey and Jake go outside together sometimes, and that has always proven to be a bad idea. Bailey is in his prime. He can jump and hop over the snowbanks as though he is a nymph, and Jake tries to follow. We have to carry Jake and assist him up the front porch stairs, but sometimes when you look off into the distance you can see Jake trying to follow Bailey up the mountain. It's never been a good plan. Now I'm not blaming Bailey for Jake falling into the pond. I didn't see it happen and I don't like to place blame. But as far as passing the Lassie test, Bailey had failed miserably. Timmy fell in the well, and Bailey went right along on his merry way. He didn't try and alert us, he wasn't any help, and he was now laying in the sun on the porch as though nothing had happened. I had thought he would be a better emergency type dog. Wrong. Jerry came home, he lifted Jake up and set him on his feet squarely, and with a couple of shakes and wobbles, Jake went across the driveway and continued to "Mark his territory" if you know what I mean. He didn't appear any worse for wear, and he came inside with us when we went in. We had a lovely dinner together and spent what was, all in all, a beautiful Sunday. Except for the pond incident. Except for that.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Although happiness for a lottery winner is what I always feel, especially when they turn out to be hard working "regular" guys like you and I, the last group of winners, commonly known as "The Lucky Seven" have completely destroyed any hope I have of winning any type of lottery. Why you ask? Because one of those lucky seven is from Johnstown, New York. Damn! My home town. My disappointment stems from the fact that the odds of winning the lottery are already quite large, like one in 100 million. What are the odds of two winners from the same home town winning 19 million dollars? That is the amount that each of the lucky seven brought home from their win of the 319 million dollar New York State Lottery. And so, as I said, "Damn". Congratulations Mr. Leon Peck of Whitemore Ave., Johnstown, New York. You've effectively ruined any chance that I might have of winning the big one. the one that we all hope of winning someday. We talk often about what we would do with a win that large, and even of a smaller win, say one million. Nowadays, one million is no big deal. I remember growing up and driving by the home of Perry Como, in Sands Point, the village next to Port Washington, where I grew up. I remember vividly my father telling us that the home cost "over $100,000.00". Nowadays in Sands Point, that might be your tax obligation. Not a home. So a win of one million, well, let's just say it won't be sneezed at, but it has a different thrill level than 19 million, which was Mr. Peck's take home after sharing the $319 million seven ways, and agreeing to take the payout rather than the long-term payout. I would do that too. This way you can share more, and in the event you kick the bucket before the full amount is paid out, at least your wishes have been taken care of. Because sharing is the first thing we think of. Family, organizations, charities. If I won 19 million, I'd be sharing it alot. AFTER, of course, making sure that we were set up nicely. Not extravagantly, but nicely. I would add a southern location, for sure. Someplace closer to our older kids. I would keep this home, because we love it and love living here. It has healed me in more ways than I can count. But a place south, maybe a condo with little maintenance, so Jerry can put away the plow and let someone else handle it. We would finish up the cottage so that we can accomodate all the family all the time. Other than that it would be sharing. And now, Mr. Peck has taken those dreams and effectively removed them. I will still buy the ticket, of course, but without the same sense of excitement and possibility that the winner will be me. So as I said, Damn Mr. Peck, Damn!

Updates From Caroga Lake!

Hello Gang, Its Been a while since you have seen anything from me here on this blog , so here are some updates from Caroga Lake. This photo is from Feb.2010, was looking for some photos to post for this blog, came across this one I had taken of Jen and said " why not?" Best photo I have seen so far.
Not sure where to start so I will Just jump in some place and most likely jump around.
We are just starting to see some Spring here, then it snows again. This morning,April 2nd we had white out snow storm and now the sun is out and it looks like we are going to get a lot of sun and loose some of the ground snow. ( Jumping) As you know we have a new Grandson eight months ago, Mike Jr., he is growing fast, we miss not seeing him everyday. We can't wait to have him up here running around. Rumor has it that he is starting to talk and his 1st words are Pop-Pop Jerry and then MoM-Mom Jen........I'm Just saying , That's what I heard!!!
Jen and Allie have been on the college hunt for last few winter months as that time is getting near for Allie, she is a junior here in Johnstown HS. Reports are that Allie is doing very well in school and she is going to go far in what ever she decides that she wants to do.
Walter is all over with his job on the Tug Boat.... last I heard he was down south with the boat and enjoying a break from the weather of NY Harbor, On the other hand Jackie was home keeping all warm and ready for Walters return. Brian, one of these days is going to get out of the Police Academy and on the Prowl out in Suffolk, Ash would like to have him around more. Jackie,Jessie , Mike & Nicole all seem to be thriving.
Jake ( our oldest dog) has seemed to have made it through the winter, Bad hips. Been giving him doggie aspirin and Glucosamine Sulfate which has seemed to help. Daphne is getting 2 shots a day of Insulin because she is Diabetic , seems better and has lost weight.
Bailey is having the time of his life, running and jumping and guarding the front porch and running and.........
Jen's been Wall Papering and bathroom painting over the winter. Jen's been horse back riding in the evenings, learning proper care and grooming of the horses. I stopped by the horse farm last week to watch Jen & her horse, Smokey ride around but was too early and only got to see grooming as that seems is a large part of this new horse thing...reports are that they are going to learn some new grooming stuff next week......I'll let her fill you in on that one.
Jen seems to love it and reports are that soon she will be out on a trail ride, maybe up in these parts.
Maple Syrup sap is running hard and Dave down the road is boiling as fast as he can, taking in 100 gals a day, boiling 80 gals a day.... Fred needs to come up with a means to boil faster, maybe a pressure cooker would work!
We have also been tinkering around the house and cabin down by the lake. Lake house before the snow came hard here we got one of the 3 bedrooms almost finished, paneling , Sheetrock and insulation. Trim will be next then we move on to the other rooms and a septic holding tank after the weather breaks a little more. Jen's been guiding the gravel guys when ever we get a break in the weather and she has seemed to have solved the MUD problem for now, so far six dump trucks of gravel have been spread as a base in front of the house.
I have been working in Albany 5 days a week doing security work and burning $500-$600 a month in Gasoline.....Whats up with That? Gas has been going through the roof, I'm afraid to pass a gas station and not fill up as in a blink of an eye the price jumps up.
I miss being home with my Bride everyday.
Summer is just around the corner and I suspect that we are going to be spending much more time down at the lake, enjoying our self's and getting it ready for visitors to spend some vacation time.
Well that's about it for me........I see Jen's got some new Blog Followers, I'm sorry to those new followers...I'm not as good as Jen . Just like a Chicken Pecking away at a key board.
"Having the Times of Our Lives!" Til Next Time Gang.........Jerry