Grateful This Christmas Eve

A Christmas Eve walk with Kloe this morning put this particular holiday season in perspective for me.  It was a brisk forty five degrees as we headed out at about 8:30 am.   The morning was calm with no wind, the tall pine trees at the Golden K were still, the sky was grey but dry, and the neighborhood was quiet.

As Kloe and I headed out I was grateful that we had nowhere in particular to go and all day to get there.  Quite a difference from the days when my children were small and there were so many tasks to complete in time for the “big day”.  All those tasks parents like us were fortunate to be able to undertake to make that big day special for our children.  They were great times that I will cherish forever.  But I have to admit this morning as we headed out to walk I was grateful that those days were in the past and Kloe and I were in the present.

This has been quite a year for my special girl Kloe.   It was April when she was diagnosed with a torn CCL.   For over seven months we nursed her back to health.  In that time she tore the other CCL,  had double CCL surgery (bi-lateral TPLO), and then convalesced back to so far what seems to be a full recovery.  During that period much of our life was consumed with caring for (and worrying about!) Kloe.  Her injuries had a major impact on our lives as well as her two sisters who often took a back seat to Kloe’s needs; especially puppy Koda who just wanted to play with big-sissie but could not because Kloe was at zero activity level.

So as we walked in the crisp air I reflected on how grateful I am for Kloe’s recovery.  Grateful for having the flexibility and resources to dedicate much of our time over the past months to ensure the best chance for her recovery.  Grateful that she is now pain free, can run and jump without restrictions,  can wrestle with puppy Kloe and just be a dog again.  But mostly I am grateful that Kloe came into our lives as a nine week old pup three and half years ago and changed our lives for the better and for ever.

Kloe and I stopped along the seasonal creek to take a quick photo and memorialize this special walk.

Christmas Eve morning 2019

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The Fifth 4th

The 4th of July has always been one of my favorite holidays.  Not because of any great traditions or specific memories but because its been one of those holidays where I feel ok not doing much and not feeling guilty about it.  As a kid the long July days made it hard to wait for fireworks.  It seemed as though it would never get dark.  I have many fond memories of when our kids were young.  There was the annual neighborhood bike parade where the kids would decorate their bikes in red and blue streamers, flags, and whatever else they could come up with.  Usually a block party took place later in the day and was followed by volleyball and later fireworks.  But more recently, as in the past five years, the 4th has a much more special meaning for me.

Kali arrived from Taiwan on May 24, 2014.   She quickly assimilated into our family as in almost instantly.   The morning after she arrived I began this Golden Kali blog which at the time had the tag line, “Kali’s New Life in America”.  Kali arrived wearing a brown scarf that was put on her at some point before boarding the plane in Taiwan for the trip to America.  After greeting her at the airport, taking care of a few formalities, and letting her get her land legs back we headed home to Livermore.  But before we did one of the rescue group volunteers took off the brown scarf and replaced it with a scarf that had red, white, and blue stars and strips.  It was quite symbolic and a touching gesture that Kali was now an American.

So back to the 4th…   Although Kali arrived on a Memorial Day weekend because of this scarf it’s been the 4th of July that marks another year of her life in America.   Much of Kali’s life, and mine, has been chronicled in this blog over the past five years.  In a 2015 post called Tradition I wrote about how a new tradition began where on the 4th I put that red white and blue scarf on Kali and she wears it for the day.   This scarf for Kali and I stands for her journey from Taiwan to America and her her new chance at a good life in a furever home.  As important, when I hang the scarf around Kali’s neck, I do it as a tribute to all the rescue groups volunteers in both Taiwan and the US who have done so much good for so many Golden Retrievers like Kali.  For them I will always be grateful!

So on this fifth 4th the tradition continues.  This morning I took out the scarf and placed it around Kali’s neck and we went for a brief walk.  She’s twice as old (ten) as she was when she arrived and the tradition of the scarf becomes more meaningful with each year.  She doesn’t want to walk as far, uphill is not her friend, and there are may signs of her slowing and aging.  I don’t like to think about it but there will be a 4th of July when Kali is no longer with me.  Not physically.  But in spirit I know she will never leave my side.  And this scarf, her journey, and her time in America will be with her and I forever.

Happy fifth 4th Kali.  Thank you Rescued Love From Taiwan and True Love Rescue for brining Kali into our lives.

Cheers from The Golden K!

Left: Kali on her second 4th.   Center:  Kali, cousin Ben, and sister Kloe last year, her fourth 4th.  Right:  Kali this year, her fifth 4th.

Flags, Dogs, and Wine

For all our warts I would not want to live anywhere other than this great country of ours, the US of America.

Ray Charles singing “America” in the background, Oaks and Pines swaying to the warm gentle wind, and Baseball coming on shortly.   We are truly blessed at the Golden K.

Whether you stand, sit, or lie down for the flag Kloe, Kali, and cousin Ben wish you the best of bests on this Fourth Of July, Two Thousand and Eighteen.

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Christmas Wishes

The Three Wise Pups or Ghosts of Christmas Present?

Whichever it is this Golden K trio comprised of Kali, Smokey, and Kloe are wishing all the followers of the Golden Kali blog the Merriest Christmas possible.

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The Fourth 4th

Happy fourth 4th my Golden Kali!

When Kali arrived from Taiwan in 2014 she arrived with a brown scarf.  At the airport one of the volunteers that was assisting with her transition to our care took off the brown scarf and replaced it with a scarf with red, white, and blue markings that represented the American flag.   Kali was now an “American Girl”.

So beginning with that 2014 4th of July it became a tradition for Kali to don that same scarf and take a photo.  A photo that represents our collective patriotism but more importantly our thanks to the Taiwanese care givers who rescued Kali and sent her to America and to me.  Thank you Jade Lo and team.  Kali and I salute you and honor you for your the work you and your team do for so many dogs in need.

Happy fourth 4TH KALI!

Happy Birthday America from Golden Kali at The Golden K

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Doggie Daddies, BBQ, and Flannels

It’s Fathers Day in the U.S. of A.  A day to celebrate good o’l Dad and lavish him with praise, gifts, and hugs while he slaves over the BBQ attempting to satisfy his primal urge to drink a lot of guilt free beer feed his family and ensure their very survival.   After a day of hunting at the local butcher shop dad will season up his kill purchase, put on the gaudy apron one his kids gave his last year, throw the fatted cow (or chicken or fish or all three) on the coals (or propane depending on his heating preferences) pop open a frosty beverage and “get it on”.

There is nothing more American than these Father’s Day rituals except of course Mother’s Day and Apple Pie.  And Old Glory, rodeo, and baseball.  Oh and white picket fences and Levi’s jeans.  OK, well sorry Dads there are plenty of things more American so I guess we just need to work harder…

Meanwhile,  Kali and Kloe wanted to wish all the Doggie Daddies a very happy day.   Any Dad worth his cook’s hat has a flannel shirt in his closet.   As a tribute to all of you Kali and Kloe dawned one of their own Dad’s flannels to pose for this picture.

Happy Fathers Day!

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The Year Of The K

I don’t typically partake in reflection of the past year as the new year approaches but this year has been like no other. It has been the year of the K.

Packing up 34 years of suburbia and moving to a rural area was a truly life changing event for Holly and I. This journey started in September of 2015 when “just for fun” I began looking on the internet at homes for sale in the foothills.  One of the first I saw  was a five acre property in Tuolumne CA.  It seemed to call to me and Holly agreed that it looked wonderful but she was not keen on moving; at least not for several years.

A few weeks later we drove up to see the property “just for fun”.  Over the following weeks and countless discussions about the possibility and rationale for moving  the “just for fun” became serious and we decided to look at more properties.  We saw several that we liked but none met the beauty, charm, and rustic elegance of what was to become The Golden K. We made an offer in November and closed escrow in December, just over a year ago.

Wow! What in September were only musings about one day moving to a simpler life in the mountains became reality just four months later in.  It’s one example of many over the past 34 years of Holly and I aligning on a goal and making it a reality.

The sellers rented back from us through April which gave us time to sell our home in Livermore and for Holly to finish her school year as a teacher.  In early May while still living in Livermore we brought a nine week old Golden Retriever home that we named Kloe, with a K or course like her big step sister Kali with a K.

That was all the inspiration I needed. I then knew we were moving “home” to The Golden K.  We moved in full time over Memorial weekend and we never looked back.

So here we the four of us: a guy and a gal still desperately in love after 34 years of marriage, two beautiful and loving Golden Retrievers, and one shared romantic perspective of life at 3100 feet.

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And to all a good night

We’re back down to from 200 to 120 pounds of dog!

For the past three days we had a Crazy (as in crazy good) Canine Christmas.  Smokey arrived Friday and Sadie and Jaynee arrived Saturday.  Throw Kali and Kloe in the mix and the dogs outnumbered the humans 5 to 3 for this low key Christmas celebration with Holly, my daughter, and myself….. and the five pups.

The youngsters (Kloe and Jaynee) played hard wrestling and chasing much of the weekend.  The old ladies (Kali and Sadie) opted to sleep in the warmth of either the sun or the house. Smokey, being the smallest (yet wisest) of the group tried to stay out of harms way.  Contributing only 11 of the overall total 200 pounds of dog, he held his own but knew when to run for cover to avoid getting smashed.

It was a howl of a Christmas for sure.  All the pups were respectful of the house, the outside areas, and one another.  Barely a growl or snip was noticed as this gang of five co-exsited for three days eating, begging, getting way too many treats, napping in the sun, rolling in the mud, and being dogs together.  Spoiled dogs, but dogs none the less.

Smokey, Sadie, and Jaynee were gone by 2:00 this afternoon.  Since then, and as expected, Kali and Kloe have gone into deep power naps.

And to all a good night!

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200 Pounds Of Dog For Christmas

There will be a large group at The Golden K this Christmas!  The breakdown of attendees goes like this:  three humans, five canines, and one cow.  Well, only part of a cow; a prime rib to be more specific.

Meet the humans:  Michael, Holly, and Jessica (our daughter).

Meet the Canines:  Kali, Kloe, Smokey, Sadie, and Jaynee.  Kali and Kloe you already know and Smokey some of you have “met” in past posts.  Smokey is an eleven pound Morky (Maltese / Yorkshire mix)  of pure cute.  Sadie and Jaynee belong to our friends who live nearby and who will be traveling for a few days.  Sadie and Jayne will be with us for three days over Christmas.  I’m not sure what breeds Sadie is but she is about 45 pounds, 11 years old, fuzzy, and very sweet.  Jayne is an Australian Shepard mix about 35 pounds and lighting fast.  She and Kloe have become good friends over the past several months.  Kloe and Jayne run, chase, and wrestle while Kali and Sadie lay and watch them or sleep in the sun.  It’s a good mix and lots of fun to watch.

Meet the Cow:  just kidding.  I meant eat the cow (sorry PETA advocates but I really love beef…

So this long Christmas weekend will be interesting and fun to say the least.   It could be a howl!  Smokey arrives tomorrow (Friday) with my daughter, Sadie and Jayne arrive Saturday.  They will all leave on Monday.  So we’ll have three days with twenty paws running around the… well, probably running around the house because it’s supposed rain and/or snow most of that time.

I sure hope Santa is quiet coming down our chimney Christmas Eve otherwise he’ll be sharing his milk and cookies with 200 pounds of dog!

With a little Mother Nature luck the nine of us (yes, I’m including the cow) may wake up to this on Christmas morning as we did over Thanksgiving weekend.  Just enough to look pretty but not so much to have to shovel  🙂

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They're Cutting Down Trees

It’s coming on Christmas
They’re cutting down trees
They’re putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
I wish I had a river I could skate away on

 – © 1970; Joni Mitchell

Last weekend Holly and I went to  a local nursery looking for a live Christmas tree.  What was available was scrawny and very expensive.  Then Holly and I came to our senses and remembered that we live on five acres full of trees.  We laughed just a little at ourselves.

By the time we arrived back home at the Golden K it was pouring down rain but we were determined to establish a new tradition of cutting down a Christmas tree from our own property.  So we put on the best rainproof-cutting-down-Chistmas Tree-gear that we had and headed up the hill to the back side of the Golden K.  Back in the days before we went artificial and when we still put up “real”  trees we always had pines.  It wasn’t likely that we would find a pine small enough so we were hunting for a Cedar.

It didn’t take us too long to find a tree that was suitable.  It was a very nicely shaped Cedar about 12 feet high.  We carried it to the shop, cut it down to about seven feet and carried it back to the house.

It felt a little bit like when your kids are little and they cook a meal for themselves.  They eat the meal as if it was the best food they ever tasted because of the gratification of having cooked it themselves.  As we looked at our tree we both felt as though it was the most beautiful tree we have ever had in our 34 years of marriage.  I guess because we “cooked it” ourselves…

So like Joni sang, “they’re cutting down trees” at the Golden K and they are in love and they are grateful.  And if that’s not a romantic perspective of life at 3100 feet I don’t know what is.

First Christmas at the Golden K

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