Monday, October 29, 2007

happy birthday, pam

so happy and grateful to be spending time with people I love.
it was so much more fun to work on something creative than doing schoolwork all day Sunday.
black and white polka dots played a big part in Katie's wedding, in which Pam played such a vital role.
Happy Birthday, Pam!
and thank you Jane for your ideas!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Friday, October 26, 2007

paraphrasing yesterday's magnificat meditation

The problems of the world can only be solved by putting our loving God in the center. It is necessary for Him to become once again visible to the world, but that can only be accomplished through us. We need to be Jesus Christ to all and see Jesus Christ in all.

glamour gals at the maker faire

while last weekend seems like months ago i did want to record our visit to the maker faire,
held for the first time in austin.
hard to compare it with the momentous events of natalie and molly getting married on that day. we were happy to be with katie and derek, but sad to miss two beautiful weddings.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

gave me quite a chuckle, but r rated for language

aren't we the lucky ones?

Derek and Murphy
hard to say which of the two newest members of our family is cuter, but we know that Derek is by far more gentle and gentlemanly!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

coming back to life

93 degrees out;
mass was said, cleaners, starbucks were open, von's had diet cokes.
half the city is driving around with their treasured possessions filling up their cars; would be fun to do a random survey to see what people packed;
very difficult to get definitive up-to-date info; when i dropped stuff off at the fairgrounds one of the volunteers turned out to be a neighbor of mine and couldn't believe we had gone back yesterday. she thought we were still under mandatory evac.

a very telling lesson for me at the fish counter at von's:
to the gentleman standing a bit behind the counter, I said, "I'll have a pound and a quarter of salmon."
He stepped closer, slightly acknowledged me, so I thought he hadn't heard me the first time. I repeated my order. He said, "hello." Then I repeated my order one more time thinking he was hard of hearing. Then he kept repeating, "hello, hello, hello," always in a nice tone of voice. Finally it dawned on me how unthinkingly rude I had been not to say anything pleasant to him.
I could only wonder if that's his normal demeanor or if it was because of the fire. certainly made me stop and ponder. it really is easy and sometimes fun to talk with the people we so often take for granted. at the austin airport one of the tsa officers asked how my day was? I replied positively, but was so glad I asked about his. His response was, I'm choosing to make it a good day.

what a difference a day makes 2

yet again lives change in an instant.
i went to bed last night with such an overwhelming sense of gratitude for being able to sleep in my own bed in my own house, but with such a heavy heart for all those people who have lost so much.
i thank those old friends and family who have called to check on us.
we're still in a bit of zombie mode, glued to the tv, rod, of course does the late night watch, and i'm on dawn duty.
i ventured out to the market yesterday; there were many empty shelves, no diet coke, many people wore face masks, very eerie.
i found it quite ironical that there was an ad in one corner of the tv for the scream zone at the fair grounds, no need to pay anything, the real scream zone can be found on so many streets of san diego. the entire town of julian has been evacuated, a true ghost town.
i'm especially grateful the CCI facility has been spared evacuation and cath and jim and pups seem to be doing fine.
these pictures, showing the pups first experiencing solid food (they do it both inside and outside), will provide some comic relief.
bless all of you reading this!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

more fun in austin

watching Josh and Emily play Wii

our own Mona Lisa

While other members of our framily are at the Louvre viewing Mona Lisa, we had the pleasure of meeting this lovely canine, coingkidinkly named Mona Lisa.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I'm not so big on forwards, but this is a lovely prayer, so instead of forwarding it, I'm putting it here in the hopes that it will reach 11 people...reminds me of Jeff&Jer, who always talked about their 11 listeners - wonder if I have 11 people who read my blog:o)

"May today there be peace within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content knowing you are a child of God. Let His presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and everyone of us."

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

puppy raiser's joyful lament

Such an eloquent article...

Zeek’s Corner: Saying Goodbye

All throughout my experience as a first time puppy raiser, I heard the well-known question, “How
can you give him up?”. My reply was, “I’m used to giving them up. And if he makes it I know he will go to
a fabulous home to do amazing things for a person with a disability.” Half of those statements are true.
The fact is, as trainers we are really equivalent to classroom teachers. We spend the day with the
dogs, we teach and nurture them, we love and praise them (my goodness, we love them), and we try to teach
them right from wrong in the assistance dog world. Then we go to our homes when work is done for the day
(and let our pet dogs get away with everything). As a raiser you are more like the family of this ‘foster
child’. You wake up with them, spend nearly all of the day with them, and then take them home at night.
You take them to the vet for any scrapes and bumps. You take them out on most of your errands and they are
a part of your life activities. Zeek was with me when I got my passport, ordered wedding invitations, and
shared Christmas with my family in Chicago. It is different. So when I tried to mentally convince myself that
the end of the process would be easy for me because “I was used to it” I was covering myself in a big
blanket of denial.
Since Zeek was raised in the Southwest region, we matriculated and walked across the stage at the
graduation ceremony in Oceanside. Then, a week later, we went up to the Schulz Campus in Santa Rosa, CA
for the Real Turn-in and matriculation. (Any CCI Southwest employee that puppy raises turns the puppy in
at Northwest/National.) As I sat in the audience at the Oceanside ceremony, before it even began, I felt
myself become overwhelmed by the fact that this endearing and amazingly fun creature lying by my feet
would soon be gone. For me that was the moment of realization (and the most tears), a whole week before
Real Turn-in!
Going to the Schulz Campus a week later was a good experience. I got to see old friends and watch a
graduation ceremony at a different region. After the ceremony, my husband and I drove over to the campus
straight away and took Zeek out to the big yard, where we romped with a few other puppies. We watched his
characteristically small and uncoordinated self romp with pure joy. Then we went to “the room” and stood
just outside to say our goodbye.
Zeek had no idea this was an important moment—breathless from his romp, he excitedly watched
the other dogs entering the training room. That is when I realized there was no good reason to cry now. I had
already cried for myself, and how much I would miss him. There was no reason to cry for Zeek. Zeek is a
happy, adaptable, canine and people-loving creature. This Advanced Training set-up was like his personal
version of heaven. He gets to play in a yard with a big group of dogs every day! He gets to work on new
commands and use his sharp little brain! He lives with a young, playful roommate instead of our grumpy old
pet dog, Myles! Absolute heaven. I gave the leash to one of the trainers and Zeek wagged excitedly at them
and bounded off without a single look back.
To be honest, when I arrived home there was some relief. Never have trips to the grocery store
seemed so fast and convenient. Myles the grump was peacefully slumbering all day long, as is his
preference. And the remainder of my wedding planning was just a bit less stressful with one less thing to
think about.
But when we returned from the honeymoon, and every day since, I find myself thinking about him
more. I think about what it would be like to see him and wonder if he would wiggle with joy at my presence.
I find myself waiting for that first training report like a high school girl waiting for news about her crush and
what he is up to, butterflies in my stomach.

I hope with all my heart that he makes it. If not, ours is a one-grumpy-
dog home, so we will go find Zeek the perfect spot. The dogs always find their
perfect spot, whether it is with a CCI graduate, or as a pet dog—I truly believe
that. These dogs don’t have quirks, they have their true character, and if
their true nature is not meant for this work, I love that CCI respects that and
doesn’t force the mold. Zeek will be an assistance dog if that is his true nature.
Will I raise another? Probably, but not yet. I must focus my attention
on future ‘classrooms’ of Advanced Training dogs, raised by the likes of you
wonderful people! Puppy Raising was harder than I thought, more
time-consuming than I thought, and more wonderful than I thought it would be.
I give extra Kudos to all of our raisers who, I have truly realized, make a great
sacrifice of time, money, patience, clothing, personal objects, and then come
back to do it all over again. Keep up the hard work.
-Becky (Skrudland) Hein

Monday, October 15, 2007

two lovely new connections

the power of the blog

i never read the stuff at the bottom when i open my blog, but, for some reason, today i did and how cool to know that today is blog action day, totally related to environmental issues. surely i could participate somehow.
i was stumped though, until i remembered how proud i am of my daughter, making a difference, using her talents.
here is a link to her company:

another person I'm proud to know is Jeff Bizzack and his group;
their contribution is significantly, measureably improving our lives!!!

Sunday, October 14, 2007


How fun to happen into this darling book,
The Tale of Hawthorn House from the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter by Susan Wittig Albert

check out the website:

this is a must for anyone who loves escaping into a quaint English village.
Very clever the way she weaves Beatrix Potter and all her animal friends into the plot.

katie and derek's gorgeous new house


bewitching Vanessa; kudos to Patti and Bill, phenomenal PRs!!! (Thank you for letting me puppy sit her)
and my bewitching quilt, made by so very talented Janet!!!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

the two miracle workers

look what i did today

cath was gracious enough to invite me for a preview visit; she took pictures of me holding each of the 5 female pups so we'd have a first pic for our grad's photo album!
unfortunately i didn't hold them so you can see the colors.
do know that neon pink was jel's color; the 5th in the litter:-)

book recommendations from davi

nothing i like better than hearing about worthwhile books.
thank you, Davi!
THE FOREVER YEAR by Ronald Anthony

THE BIG HOUSE: A Century in the Life of an American Summer Home by George Howe Colt

LEEWAY COTTAGE by Beth Gutcheon

MORE THAN YOU KNOW also by Beth Gutcheon


GARDEN SPELLS by Sarah Addison Allen


THREE DOG LIFE by Abigal Thomas (wow! a must read for anyone associated with CCI !!!)

eat, pray, love by Elizabeth Gilbert (who has my copy, Kristi or Cara?!)

AND RIGHT NOW, I have three going:

MERLE'S DOOR: Lessons From a Freethinking Dog by Ted Kerasote

A YEAR IN THE WORLD: Journeys of a Passionate Traveler by Frances Mayes

and what self-respecting multi-tasking reader would consider her bedside stack(s) complete without throwing in this work of NON-fiction:

FIND YOUR FOCUS ZONE by Lucy Jo Palladino ???!!!!!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

thoughts on mothering

with huge respect to my beautiful children without whom I would not have had this joy filled, rewarding, humbling and sometimes painful job:
from Deborah Tannen's book, You're Wearing THAT?, Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation,
"The term 'mother' implies a companion term, 'child'.One of the oddest aspects of a mother's job description is that, once hired, she cannot be fired. She's stuck in this job for the rest of her life - like it or not (though, happily, most -including this blogger- do like it). One woman I spoke to whose daughers are entering middle age explained how this aspect of the job surprised her: "Most young mothers think that there's a time frame on mothering, that at certain age your kids are launched. My friends and I often laugh about this. Your relationships are interlaced all your lives.
But to say that your lives are interlaced forever is not to say that the forms those connections take are constant. Perhaps the hardest part of this overwhelming job is that it constantly changes. Adjusting to these changes, for both mother and daughter, is a challenge of this complex lifelong relationship."

day 2, post burglary, changing old habits

With our new self imposed security, I've locked myself out of the house twice and Michael once. Imagine me, throwing rocks at Michael's window trying to wake him up to let me in. Instead I woke up Rod, who had practically just gone to bed.
Michael and I now attach keys to our body:-) It's kind of a bad feeling to get locked out.

another wrinkle; between Rod and I we had one ipod left, a tiny shuffle, which he got as a gift at some conference. Missing my music desperately I opened it up and charged it up yesterday. Course I had to download off Rod's computer, (I do hate sharing a computer with Rod, he's just not into my cutesey screensavers, backgrounds,etc.and certainly no widgets!)so here I am this morning 'enjoying' some barbershop I haven't heard before, some Chet Atkins (actually pretty good) and who knows what else. Shaking things up and moving out of our comfort zone isn't a bad thing, right???? which leads me to my next thought

new consideration: going to the dark side and getting a mac; when I think about it all my children and most of my friends have macs and love them. Maybe it's time to learn something new.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

what a difference a day makes

What a joy on Thursday afternoon to participate in the blessing of the animals at St. James for the feast of St. Francis. I especially love reuniting with Tricky and Crista, two beautiful pups!
How miserable to wake up the next morning, expecting to download the pictures of the day before, and find that laptop, camera, cell phone and ipods have all been stolen. I realize how very attached I've become to my stuff, so, to put it in perspective, I know that it is only stuff. Today I'm starting to process all that is gone, letters, all the cookbook recipes from friends, CCI docs, numerous pictures, but what does it really represent? It's just time to make a new beginning and know that all that's in the past contributed to my learning and growth and here's to a new beginning.
The very happy news that ended my very bad day is that we will be welcoming one of Breezey's beautiful pups on Nov. 28th! Also that Val was calling with good news and that Jelena's still in for today.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Two Beautiful Ladies

What a privilege to know Denise and Gabi Foyle. In order to kick off breast cancer awareness month they both donated 12 inches of hair to Locks of Love. Of course, it didn't make a bit of difference to how beautiful they are, both inside and out!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Feast of the Guardian Angels

How many years have I spent this day teaching the prayer, Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God's love commits me here, ever this day be at my side, to light to guard, to rule and to guide?
I spent today in a totally foreign way - shopping.
Rod has introduced me to the wonders of a whole new part of San Diego, simply reached by 56.
I researched out joann's for fabric, but little did I know when I got there, in the very same shopping center there would be a scrapbooking store and michael's, all in one place.
I spent hours browsing, a completely new experience for me.
I was pretty jazzed with the clear alphabet stamps and stamp block I bought until I realized there was no S, only discovered later when I tried to stamp Sherry.
I hope either the store or the manufacturer will solve this problem.