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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Snow Bunnies

The “girls” got their first taste of snow on Sunday.

I actually had a preview at about 3:30 am when I got up for a drink of water and looked out the window to see snow flurries floating down.  There is a small irony in the fact that something freezing can warm your heart…  I went back to bed anticipating an early morning blanket of ice and snow on the ground.When I got up with the girls about 6:30 I wasn’t disappointed.

The sun was rising and our five acres of heaven never looked more beautiful.  The patchwork of snow on the ground was only slightly over shadowed in beauty by the pine and cedar branches delicately balancing glistening snow and ice in the morning sun.

Holly and I sat and drank coffee looking out the windows at the christening of snow on our new treasure we call the Golden K.  For most of the morning Kali and Kloe – mostly Kloe – were restless and wondered why we didn’t let them outside to explore the “Winter-land”.  So at noon we went for a walk around our neighborhood to give the girls a little exercise and to savor this dusting of snow before it all melted.  It was great fun to watch the girls as they experienced snow for the first time. The personalities of Kali and Kloe were in full display as we walked along the snow spotted roads near the Golden K.

Kali who prances under normal circumstances seemed even more animated as she navigated the slippery ground and got used to ice under her feet.  She methodically followed her nose along the snow and ice on the roadside probably wondering why the normal smells were not as vibrant being covered by a layer of snow.  Kloe tugged a little more than usual and was very excited to finally be outside.  She stopped every few feet to gobble down a bite of snow.

We walked, talked, and and gave thanks as we took in the beautiful sights of snow covered pastures, creeks running crisply with the melted snow, but mostly watching Kloe as she realized she could use her body as a snowboard.  She would  throw her body down on the ground and slide for as long as the leash would allow her and then get up with wild eyes and do it again.  Holly and I were in hysterics and I think even Kali got a laugh or two out of her sisters antics.

It was a great day and a wonderful way to wrap our holiday weekend walking with our two “snow bunnies” who we are so thankful for.

Never too cold for a little training and TREATS!

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Trying to look stoic after a belly flop and slide

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Just a dusting

Over the years we’ve vacationed in the snow many times.  I have fond memories of spending long winter weekends in Lake Tahoe with friends who had small children like our’s were at the time.  Three families comprised of six adults and nine children.  The first year of what became an annual event for ten years the youngest child  was an infant and the oldest, one of my sons, was nine.  No snow parks needed for this band of suburban families. There was a fantastic area right outside the house to build our sled run.  There was always plenty of snow and fun to go around.

There were plenty of other times and events in the snow.  One scary and memorable event was a drive to Lake Tahoe with our daughter in what turned out to be a white out.  On top of almost zero visibility from the snow storm and darkness of night our car’s windsheild wipers were badly worn which negated any help from the defroster.  I couldn’t see any road; only white. Thankfully we didn’t fall off the edge of a cliff and we made it over the pass and into the Lake Tahoe Basin area safely and had a wonderful time snowmobiling and sight seeing.

At 3,100 feet elevation The Golden K is just the lower edge of the snow line for normal years in the Sierras.  But with the drought and evolving climate change who knows what normal is anymore. Still, we hoped we would get some dustings from time to time and yesterday was one of those times.  I had driven down to the Bay Area in the morning and was heading back home around 3:00 pm when Holly text me to say it was snowing.  As I got up the hill closer to the GK the rain turned to flurries and I felt my lips spontaneously turn to a smile.  For a moment I felt like a little kid experiencing something special for the first time. Maybe like my daughter felt when she fist saw snow during that first annual trip with our friends.  But I’ve been in the snow plenty of times.  Heck I drove through that white out with nothing but snow all around us. So why do a few snow flurries make me feel happy?   But then at that moment I realized that experiencing something familiar can still feel new when the context changes.

This new context is the Golden K.

By the time I arrived home the flurries had turned to rain and there wasn’t much evidence of snow on the ground or trees because it melted as soon as it landed.  So much to my delight when I woke up this morning to see new evidence of a light snowfall from over night.  I felt my lips smile again as I looked through the windows to see patches of snow on the ground and traces of snow on tree branches.   I quickly fed the dogs and took a brief walk around the house’s immediate surroundings to enjoy the sights.

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I realize that it’s easy for me to selfishly want it to snow for the pure beauty and experience of it in this new context.  And I realize that at the end of the storm (s0 to speak) I don’t have to deal with it.  I’m sure anyone reading this who lives or has lived where real snowfall is a real part of life throughout the winter and has to shovel it, drive in it, work in it, and clean up after it will chuckle and say, “Be careful what you wish for Mike – a winter living in the snow is not all sled runs and hot cocoa Hot Totties by the fire”.

It was only a dusting and that’s fine.  Because when your lips spontaneously turn up into a smile, you feel like a three year old seeing something for the first time, and you are for that moment in time at total peace, you just might be at The Golden K experiencing a romantic perspective of life at 3100 feet.

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