Monthly Archives: May 2016

Hot Water Tuesday

We returned from a fabulous Hawaiian holiday and bailed out his sorry butt picked Sam up a few days ago and all 3 of us are trying to get our Mile High legs back. The weather has been mild, the garden coming to life and we’re slowly easing back into old routines. Including some of the bad ones apparently.

It seems that our boy Sam is the least discriminating dog on the planet. He has successfully christened Wayne into the family by the same intractable behavior he assured me was ancient history.

We were enjoying a lovely meal Sunday evening and all of a sudden, there was some bizarre crunching sound. OH GOD, nooooo…I am way too familiar with that noise (first comes an eery silence, then a weird smacking/chewing sound and as your brain is trying to wrap your head around it and then finally the oh-too-familiar realization that the tearing, munching sound you’re hearing is your worst nightmare and will soon greet you once you find that idiot dog). Immediately running into the guest bedroom where Mr. I’m-So-Proud-of-Myself had managed to eviscerate the lining and corner of a small leather portfolio that belonged to Wayne’s grandfather. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!!?!?!?! He’s gone and done it again! I can’t believe that stupid knucklehead dog went in that room, sniffed out said portfolio on top of the bed and then proceeded to pull it down to chew the living corner out of it. Gah!!!!!

Does anyone else notice the lack of remorse on the miscreant’s face?


I can’t decide whether to be pixed at him for the misdeed and shifting his attention away from my stuff or, grateful I’m no longer the target of these antics. Either way, I’m sorry Wayne is now part of the victim’s club a member of the same group as I’ve been…that of undeserved canine attacks on sentimental leather items…also known as fair game on the uprights stuff when they leave me in dog prison. That or he likes him better. With this hound, you just never can tell.  All I can say is we both need to be diligent about this little pill of a monster…that and keep all valuables put completely away from inquiring noses. And here I thought I was finished raising kids. Apparently not.

Live, love, bark! <3

Memorial Monday


Today is Memorial Day in the U.S., a day where we remember those who died in the service of their country’s armed forces. Originally known as “Decoration Day” back in 1868 following the American Civil War by the Grand Army of the Republic, a Union organization of veterans, as a day to decorate flowers on the graves of Union war soldiers. Confederate groups celebrated on a different day but eventually both Union and Confederate supporters merged their commemoration of all war dead on what we now know as Memorial Day.

The transformation from “Decoration Day” as first used in 1882, to “Memorial Day” wasn’t common until some time after World War II. The name was officially recognized in 1967. When Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act on June 28, 1968, Memorial Day was changed from the traditional May 30th date to the last Monday in May creating a 3-day weekend and it became effective in 1971. The change initially caused some confusion and a certain amount of noncompliance but eventually all 50 states adopted it.

So on this date we here the Ranch acknowledge the service of the servicemen and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country. Wishing you and yours a safe and happy ‘howliday.’

Live, love, bark! <3

Reflections on Hawaii – 2016 Edition

We’re back from Hawaii full of the 3 “E’s”…exhausted, exhilarated and ecstatic to be reunited with our pup. His demeanor when we picked him up was somewhat subdued and it’s clear he was totally overwhelmed. Confusion best described his reaction but with each passing hour he appears to be settling in to the normalcy he was used to before his prison sentence. When they brought him out, he had a fresh wound on his face, perhaps the outcome of an unpleasant encounter with another pup? Was he ‘sharing the love’ with an unwilling recipient? Had he been banging is head against the bars of his kennel in an effort to escape his personal prison? Who knows? The staff hadn’t noticed it (it was pretty small and his coat is a bit long right now) but very recent. My over-active imagination had all sorts of scenarios at the ready, but suffice to say I’m just content my Muppet boy is home. Notice the effective ‘hang-dog’ look of the newly released ‘parolee.’ It appears I shall be reminded of his mistreatment while we were away having fun in Hawaii.


When I went to Hawaii in 2014, I came back and tried to reflect on what the trip meant to me. You can read about those thoughts here. Certainly this trip had similar reflections on the beauty of The Big Island and the importance family holds in my heart. Hawaii is quite the state (as in…the 50th state) but also it’s a state of mind. On our first walk back at home, I reflected on the trip and also about being home. Sure the lupines, poppies and irises are making their beautiful presence known here, and their appearance is always something I look forward to each Spring and yet this year, it seems surprisingly different. And I was truth be told, kind of non-plused. Like Sam, I guess I too am out of step. It’s clear I’m not physically in Hawaii-there are no Jacaranda or other tropical plants to stimulate my senses and no breathtaking sunsets of the beach. Yet being back in the Mile High seems odd too and I feel like a foreigner here. It’s all very unsettling. The neighborhood changed, the city changed or at least my perception of them both changed and it makes me wonder if we still belong here? Can’t answer that yet, still trying to process this state of mind, the feeling of being at home and yet not belonging. Maybe it’s just more of the retirement adjustment period, but one thing is certain, it’s will require some time to figure out. In the meantime, we are trying to slip in to what our old routine was like by doing hospital visits.

Yesterday we were back at the hospital. While I would have preferred a few days to get both of us back on solid ground and fully rested (the return flight was pure living hell), but the schedule for the month was a bit tight and I didn’t want to let the hospital down. I wasn’t sure how Sam would handle it. But like the trooper he is, he was patient and extraordinarily calm, even if a bit off kilter. And of course wouldn’t you know it, so many people wanted to spend loads of time with him. He was so patient with everyone wanting to pet him, though I knew he would have preferred taking a nap at home. Sam stood there and while he kept his eyes on me in true Velcro-dog fashion, he tolerated every single person hanging on or stroking him. My boy was a champ. We ran into the director of volunteer services, who stopped to chat with us. In addition to wanting some one-on-one time with Sam, she thanked us profusely for our volunteer work and said how much of a difference it makes for patients as well as the staff. I told her that we get far more back than we give but it was very gratifying for the acknowledgment. It reminded me how valuable appreciation is for people’s morale note to former employer.

Some last thoughts (or rather images) of ‘there’ vs. ‘here.’ Maybe you can see my conflict or maybe you can share some tips on how to get back on track from a vacation that clearly impacted my soul and essence. I’m missing those incredible sunsets from my son’s lanai, the love of an incredible family…then again, shouldn’t I embrace the beauty and love that surrounds me where I am?





Wishing you and yours a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend.

Live, love, bark! <3

Red Nose Day – 2016

Red Nose Day_MG_6285-(ZF-0799-11403-2-001)Today is Red Nose Day, where entertainers all over the world make people laugh and raise money and awareness to lift kids out of poverty. We’re all doing our part today. How about you?

Live, love, bark! <3



Tail-Wagging Wednesday


Sam here. I’ve been a bit depressed these past few days and haven’t been eating but I managed to figure out a way how to steal borrow the kennel’s computer. The nice people at The Daily Wag told me that I would be getting a surprise later today.  I wonder what it will be?  Wait…what? My mom’s coming??!! No way-I thought she had furgotten me! Woo-hoo!

Happy Hump day, sports fans. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy.

Live, love, bark! <3

Tuesday Travelogue

Today is my last day on this incredible island. While I’m ready to rescue my poor lonesome hound from his prison kennel stay, I will miss spending time with my son and his family and seeing the amazing sights this island has to offer. It has been a remarkable trip. As Dr. Seuss said, “Oh the places you’ll go. Today is your day. Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way.” So with those words in mind, here’s what else we managed to visit.



We drove up to Waimea to check out the Parker Ranch. Nestled below the slopes of Mauna Kea, the ranch is one of the largest (and oldest) in the U.S. at nearly 250,000 acres. Founded in 1847 by John Palmer Parker, it is the second largest private landowner in Hawaii. The two homes photographed below are now museums. The Parker Ranch has a fascinating story with a number of up’s and down’s, but it has become a success story in Hawaiian history. It is now run by a charitable trust. This trip has been amazingly remarkable and I hope you’ve enjoyed visiting some of these irresistible sites as much as I did.

DSC01400But first…we had to pick up a hitchhiker on the way to the ‘big’ house. This Jackson chameleon was the exact color of the biggest Cook pine tree (often called Norfolk Pine)  I’ve ever seen (encircled by the family tree huggers). And because it’s Tuesday, here’s a little trivia about the Jackson chameleon – their tongues are one and a half times the length of their bodies!


The grounds had spectacular gardens and a nearby pasture with several horses and their new foals  (it was nearly impossible shooting them as they galloped past too quickly before I could even focus). Here are some pics including a gorgeous Jacaranda tree I was finally able to capture and dozens of ginormous Allium, and lovely Bird of Paradise




In addition to incredible gardens, there were many tools, saddles and pieces of gorgeous koa wood furniture and period clothing, all far too handsome not to share.





















Lunch was crashed at the nearby brew house by a gold dust day gecko who loved my Brownie a la mode as much as I did. final


I could go on and on, there’s so much beauty and far too many unusual sites on this fascinating island but I’m rushing off to catch a plane soon to rescue the hound. The owner of the kennel called to tell me poor Sam was on a hunger strike. I can hardly wait to try to make it up to him but wonder what that’s gonna cost over the long-term? Time will tell, so stay tuned.

It’s been such a terrific trip and I want to extend my warmest thanks to my son and his family for their graciousness and for making it so entertaining. Know I love you all to the moon and back and look forward to my next visit to your beautiful island home. Hopefully by then the newest fur-kid will have out grown the annoying puppy stage and the neighbor won’t be such a douche.  Nala…you are a goofball; and I will miss you and your family very much. <3

Conner got lei'd at graduation.

Conner got completely ‘lei’d’ at graduation.

Live, love, bark! <3


Monday Mischief

Sam must have been in time out because it wasn’t until just now that I was able to capture a shot of him. No doubt he’s been a naughty rag-a-muffin boy. We’ll see you soon, buddy. Hang in there!

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david-fleetham-lavender-colored-blossoms-on-jacaranda-trees-jacaranda-mimosifolia-in-a-field-maui-hawaii-usaOne of the many fabulous flowering trees we’ve seen in Hawaii is the Jacaranda tree. I tried to capture an image while out and about but could never catch it properly so I snagged an image from my friend, the Internet. Originally from Brazil, the Jacaranda was imported to many tropical locations. Their spectacular blossoms announce the arrival of spring. Aren’t they gorgeous?

IMG_3285Hope you had a fabulous weekend. We celebrated Conner’s graduation and even the sunset shined a spotlight on the occasion as the class of 2016 held their ceremony. We are so proud of this capable young man who graduated with academic honors. Way to go, Conner! Next stop, Menlo College, California.

Live love, bark! <3

Saturday ~ Hawaiian Travel Log

The big day is here now so today will be all about celebrating my grandson’s high school graduation to a big wide world as a young adult. Congratulations Conner – we’re all so proud of you! Love and the very best today and always.

Even though we will be celebrating the graduation in true Hawaiian style, we still managed to enjoy yet another fun-filled day on this vacay. Today was a day custom-made for snorkeling and although I’m terrified of ‘open water’ I did manage to walk out quite a ways into the bay. That is until I saw 87 jillion Yellow Tang fishes and sea urchins in between lava rocks. It was then that I high-tailed it back to the comfort of the hot sand and sun. 😉 Besides, there were photos to take of all the gorgeous scenery.

finalBefore we arrived at the bay, I took a stroll around my son’s front jungle yard to check out this pretty little blossom which is called a lilikoi. Also known as passionfruit, this little gem  is tart yet sweet and an island favorite. It’s a very popular flavor in shaved ice treats on warm days. Sadly I ate mine before realizing I should have taken a picture of it, but it looked very similar to this image. Whoops.


finalNow tell me you wouldn’t want to snorkel in this bay? I dare you. But if you’re a ‘fraidy cat like moi, I won’t hold it against you. Scenes like this remind me of the old “Calgon…take me away” commercials. The pounding surf is so soothing and rejuvenates the soul. You can hear it here if you’re on FB, but if you’re not, here’s a pic (sorry, I had difficulties downloading to YouTube and clearly am no 13-year-old computer whiz).

Have a terrific weekend. Our island ‘howliday’ is fast coming to an end but I think Sam will be jazzed for our return.

Live, love, bark! <3

Travelogue Trivia

No worries, there won’t be any hard questions in this edition of trivia (unless someone can answer me why this didn’t go out on Tuesday?!! – argh). Rather I thought I’d share some interesting info I’ve learned about Hawaii. The Hawaiian Islands were originally discovered in 1778 by Captain James Cook.  Accidentally by the way too, as he and his crew were on their way to Alaska in search of a Northwest Passage linking the Atlantic & Pacific oceans proving suggesting once again that men seem to be naturally disinclined to get directions when they are lost. 🙃

Landing at Waimea, the Hawaiians thought they were being visited by gods. One can only imagine their curiosity at the British visitors who wore tri-cornered hats, smoked pipes and packed major heat had guns. Hawaiians were familiar with iron but only from nails in driftwood that washed ashore but Cook’s ship contained a remarkable supply of iron of all kinds to the locals. Cook was, by most accounts, a decent fellow, but sailors being sailors…their arrival coinciding with a time of great upheaval and ultimately ended up causing significant problems. Although Cook was initially welcomed, he met with a rather unpleasant death in 1779, being beaten and stabbed in a squabble over a stolen rowboat. Ultimately his remains were returned to the British and Cook was buried at sea in Kealakekua Bay.

Taking a short side trip to the ‘downtown’ section of Kona on Alili Drive to check out the usual tourist traps shops we passed by the old church across the street from the Hulihe’e Palace. Tropical 19th century architecture is quite fascinating as are the plethora of coffee shops at every nook, cranny and turn.  Hard to believe there is so much emphasis on the coffee since Hawaii is rather low on the totem pole of coffee producers in the world, not even in the top ten. But most people know that Kona coffee is quite tasty and I for one especially enjoy Kona’s liquid nirvana.

The palace built in 1838 by then Governor Kuakini quickly became the vacation spot for Hawaiian royalty until 1914. Currently it is a museum that houses an impressive collection of Koa furniture. The church was the first Christian church built on the islands. Built of lava rock and crushed coral with Koa hardwood gracing the tall interior. Joints inside were attached with pins made from gnarly ‘ohi’a trees.


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final (1)As for Sam, seems like he’s still a bit lost trying to figure out why the days are so long without his uprights in the midst of hectic hounds.

Have a terrific Friday; I’ll leave you with one last photo-op from the beach that didn’t get watermarked because I was too lazy tired to go back and hassle with the app  (cue gnashing of teeth).


Live, love, bark! <3

Thursday Travelogue

Here are some highlights from yesterday’s meanderings around the Big Island. Switching over to the ‘rainy’ side of the island, we bopped over to Hilo, the oldest city in the archipelago. Surprisingly, there was no rain. For an area that receives an average of about 140″ of rain, this is pretty remarkable but we were grateful nonetheless. Our mission, to see the Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens, the only natural rainforest zoo in the country. Traveling along the Daniel K. Inouye Highway, the roadway connecting the western to the eastern side of the Big Island, also known as the Saddle Road, we shaved about 30 minutes off the trip and we were able to see snow-capped Mauna Kea with blue skies around it. While the roadway is wind-swept with Mauna Kea on one side of the road and Mauna Loa on the other, Mauna Loa was shrouded in grey clouds. 🙁 Mauna Kea, the state’s tallest peak at 13,796 ft., is a dormant volcano while Mauna Loa with the Kilauea caldera is definitely still active and growing.


Although the main attraction of the zoo (Namaste the Bengal white tiger) passed away in 2014, there are still a few other animal attractions and a wide array of gorgeous Hawaiian plants.

We managed to see the state bird, the Nene which is one of the most endangered birds in the world and is closely related to the Canadian goose.finalThis peacock kind of followed us around when we first arrived. Pretty spectacular, isn’t he?


IMG_3223While the animal exhibits were somewhat limited, there were a number of macaws and other birds, several of whom chatted up a storm. This guy kept repeating “hello, bye-bye and Mac Nut.” A stunning blue, he was quite the specimen and an even bigger character who clearly seemed to enjoy the attention.

finalStill, the small number of exhibits were no comparison to the various flora. Not living in a rain forest environment, I’m in awe of tropical plants in nature. My experience has only been with small specimens on desk tops. From parasitic orchids to large bromeliads and little pineapples, Hawaii has some amazing and colorful plant life.





We took the scenic route home and checked out the Waipi’o Overlook outside Honokaa. Talk about breath-taking! Although it’s rained at some point nearly every day in Kona, we are keeping our fingers crossed tomorrow is a good day for the beach.


Speaking of crossed fingers, our daily spying on Sam revealed a semi-behaved hound (for a change). He’d been walking around as if in disbelief a daze before I snagged a pic off the video feed, no doubt wondering where the devil we went and why had we left him for so long. That or the whole drama MO with paw to forehead, and a breathless thought something like…”Day 8 and the uprights are still missing (cue the creepy organ music 🎶). Where could they have possibly gone?” Here’s he’s orchestrating the sun worshipers’ canine society in Denver’s 66º weather. Hope they’re using sunscreen.

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Live, love, bark! <3