Portraits

From the time I was a toddler my mom would periodically take my sister and I to have “our pictures taken”.  Formal pictures taken at a professional studio with lighting, back drops, and those “umbrella-thingies”.  Looking back it’s interesting to me, and it shows how much my mom valued capturing a moment in time of her kid’s lives, that she would spend money on professional portrait sittings when there was not a lot of extra money.  As an example when out for dinner at a restaurant my sister and I would have to share a Shirley Temple drink (7-Up and Grenadine) because my parents couldn’t afford for both of us to have one.   When ordering a hamburger we couldn’t have cheese because it was ten cents extra.  In retrospect maybe that’s why my parents could afford these expensive portraits?….

My mom passed away recently and I’ve spent many days in her home cleaning and clearing.  Although many of those portraits of my sister and I hung on the walls of her home over the years they took on more meaning and presented a stark contrast to contemporary times when the camera on our smart phones are a hundred times better than the box cameras of the day.   Our phones are probably as good or better than the large and cumbersome equipment that was in those studios that used something called film.

I have hundreds of pictures of Kali and Kloe with me at all times because they’re on my phone.  A digital version of that accordion-like deck of pictures dad’s in previous generations would pull out of their wallets to proudly show off their kids and wives in blurry and faded pictures taken with his box camera.

With this in mind I thought I should take a lesson from my mom and lose the selfies and candids and have some portraits of the girls taken.   Formal sittings (“sit, stay”) with lighting and back drops and “umbrella-thingies”.  And so I did and I proudly display them here in this post.

OK… full disclosure.  These were taken with my iPhone using portrait mode.  But the sentiment remains the same.  I think mom would be proud.  Don’t you?

KALI

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KLOE

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The Chopping Board

She’ been conditioned and I guess it’s my fault.   When Kali hears the sound of a knife on a chopping board she comes running from into the kitchen and alternates glances between me and chopping board.   She knows there’s a pretty good chance she’ll get a sample of what is being chopped especially if it’s a vegetable or an apple.  If I’m chopping up left over cold chicken for a salad or sandwich she will usually get a little sliver of that.   OK fine, I admit it.   Usually whatever is on the chopping board she will get a little piece so long as it’s not unhealthy.  Since I don’t eat too many unhealthy foods I guess this means she just about always get’s a little “sumpin’ sumpin” from the chopping board when I’m chopping.

Chopping boards make a distinctive sound especially when someone like me is a “hack chef” doesn’t know how to cook.   I always thought it would be cool to be like those chefs on the cooking shows where they can dice up a five pound zucchini while making hardly any sound faster than you can say Magic Bullet.  Not me.  CHOP!  KER-CHOP… CHOPPITY CHOP!

Kali sees well but not as well as she used to.  She rarely catches a tossed biscuit or treat in mid air any longer.  She’s getting on in years (8 now) and her eyes have begun to get a cloudy look to them.   Hopefully it won’t be an issue as she continues to age.

Her hearing though is still very keen especially when it is the sound of the chopping board.

There could be sirens sounding overhead, howling wind, and explosions all around and Kali would still be able to distinguish the sound of the chopping board that she loves so much.

Recently Kali was outside on the deck and I was in the kitchen, chopping.   CHOP!  KER-CHOP… CHOPPITY CHOP!  It must have been driving Kali nuts because although she could hear the sound of chopping she couldn’t see first hand what was going on.   Another aging part of Kali’s anatomy are her hips.   She is not a very good jumper and it would put her in pain if she was propped up on just her hind legs for more than a second or two.

But that sound of the chopping board sure motivated her to jump up and get a look through the kitchen door to see what was on the chopping block as evidenced by this brief video of her trying desperately to see what was being chopped while also trying to get my attention.

The Chopping Block in Action (wait for it…….)

 

A Much Belated Post

Thinking back on almost three years of posts, one of the first posts for this Golden Kali blog should have been a link to this wonderful video that shows Kali and 23 other Goldens at the airport in Taiwan preparing for their journey to America.

The video is beautifully done and starts with Kali and Team arriving at the airport, waiting with their caregivers in the terminal, and finally getting into their crates and heading down the moving ramp to be loaded into the plane.

This video, for me, is very moving and after all this time I still get choked up watching it (which I do often).

Kali:  Dad, blog posts are for reading.  No one wants to watch a video of me and my 23 cargo mates.

Me: I know Kali.  And they don’t have to if they don’t want to.

But just in case you do, here’s the link.

p.s.  thanks to all the volunteers at Taiwan Pawprint Dog-Friendly Society (TPDS), Rescued Love From Taiwan, and True Love Rescue for all the work they do match loving Goldens with families like mine in Northern California.

And so it goes with my Golden Kali…

Me:  “C’mon Kali, do something”.

Kali:  “I am.  I’m sleeping”

Me: “No I mean, romp, play, give me some fodder for a blog post”.

Kali:  “OK, post about this nap I’m taking and wake me when there is a biscuit in your hand with my name on it”.

Me:  [sigh…]

And so it goes with my Golden Kali.  Since the day Kali arrived in America almost three years ago she has been low key and very content to just hang and be with me and observe the world around her.

So this past weekend, after a few days of steady snow, when we took Kali and Kloe for a walk up to the back section of the Golden K I was smiling to see Kali exhibit a little bit of puppy in her.  I’m still very much a kid at heart and it was great to see my Golden Kali, who is just about my contemporary in dog years, act a little bit like a pup as we romped through the snow.

As we got off the path that circles the inner section of the property around the house and began “off roading” to the deeper snow Kali began acting like,  well acting like a dog.  She  romped, she pranced, and she threw herself down on the snow and seemed to make a snow angel, although in reality it was probably something dead she smelled and wanted to roll around on it as she loves to do…

Kali is about eight and I find myself doing the “numbers game” and thinking ahead to the day when Kali will be gone.  I know there are still – God willing – four or five years until that inevitable day arrives.  For Kali, like with my human kids, I would not ask her be something she is not or doesn’t want to be.  She doesn’t have to fetch, she doesn’t have to romp, and if she prefers to nap and just observe this is ok with me because she usually chooses to do these things at my feet, by my side, as a truly loving and devoted companion.

But when she does choose to romp and play, as she did this past weekend in the snow, I will cherish it and be happy for her because I see that she too is very happy to be alive with her pack at the Golden K.

Kali’s Romp In The Snow

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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R.I.P. Eko

Although I should have started my work day at least an hour ago I sit here at my computer and can’t shake the bad news I read this morning.  Bad news about a dog I’ve never met but feel as though I know because I’ve read and watched a big part of his life unfold before my eyes in blog posts and videos.  A sister.  A household move.  A wedding.  A lot of joy, happiness, running, sleeping, and craziness.  A lot of love.

Eco was is a Rhodesian Ridgeback of magnificent stature and grace.  His dad’s blog from Monday was brief and to the point.  The title of the post said it all but as I opened the post to read it I was hoping against hope it was not what I thought it was. But it was; Eko  passed away suddenly this weekend without a known cause.

As Kali and Kloe finished their breakfast and came to lay down at my feet I sat there a little stunned.  Holly came into the room and gave me a morning kiss as is our routine and must have felt some emptiness because she said, “is everything alright?”  I said no and told her that Eko had passed away.  I got choked up because saying it out loud made it real and I became emotional.  I told her how silly it was for me to act this way when I didn’t even know this dog.  But she knew it wasn’t silly and so did I.

I can imagine what Eko’s family is going through because I’ve gone through it myself with Bailey several years ago.  All dog parents know that the day will come when one of their beloved pups will pass.  But knowing doesn’t make that day any easier especially when one day your best friend is healthy and vibrant and the next he or she is gone forever without any immediate reasons why.

I hugged my girls a little tighter as I got out of my chair to prepare to take Kali for her walk.       But this post is not about me.  This post is about Eko and how much I will miss reading about him and watching his muscular frame and graceful athletics in the occasional and wonderful videos posted on the blog.  But then again, I guess this post is just a little bit about me because I needed write it in order to go on with my day.  Eko’s family will eventually get on with their “day” one of these days.  I hope that day comes soon for them.

R.I.P. Eko from Mike, Holly, Kali, and Kloe.

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This photo is used without permission.  I hope the owner will not mind as I post it as a tribute to Eko, a magnificent pup whom I will miss

 

If I only had another biscuit

We were at my older son Jonathan’s end of the year soccer party.  He was seven at the time and his younger brother Michael was four.  The party was at a pizza parlor with the usual array of video games peppered throughout the building.  Like most kids my boys loved video games and they would spend hours and hours (and a lot of money) playing them if we had allowed them to.  My younger son Michael was especially “passionate” about video games and could become laser locked on any given game especially if he was about to beat a “level” or the “boss”.

The soccer team and their siblings were given a small bag with eight quarters to play video games before the pizza came out and before awards were presented.  My boys quickly consumed the eight quarters and then I gave them another eight quarters each.  The end of the year party goes on and most of the kids have had enough video games and are ready for pizza.  But then there’s Michael standing in the middle of the dinning room looking quite forlorn.  Looking at no one directly he says in a most exasperated voice, “If I only had another quarter”.  All at once about ten dads reach in their pockets and offer their quarters to Michael.

So fast forward about 25 years and now this is Kali. Standing in the middle of the room saying, “If only I had another biscuit.”

Today was not much different from most days for Kali.  Get up, eat breakfast.  Go for a walk, get training treats.  Come home watch dad make his breakfast and for staying out of the kitchen, get biscuits.  Later on watch dad make his lunch and get biscuits for staying out of the kitchen again.  Later in the afternoon get a Kong filled with carrots and peanut butter just ’cause.  I think even my son Michael, at four years old as he was in that pizza parlor,  would have to agree that this is a lot of (figurative) quarters.

But there Kali is with her big brown eyes and her oh-so-optimistic outlook.  If dad’s got food there is a chance I’ll get some.  If dad has quarters in his pocket there’s a chance for one more video game.

And Kali, like Michael, is right.  There’s always another quarter. All you’ve got to have is a little moxie to ask for it, indirectly or otherwise.   I love Kali like I love my kids. But as a parent there had to be some limits.  And for Kali there needs to be limits too, right?  Michael’s sad eyes staring longingly over at the giant Atari game.  Kali’s beautiful brown eyes staring at my snack.  Arghh!…  Stay strong.  Be mature,  Be the voice of reason and discipline.  Don’t lie.  Be honest and say “yes, I do have another quarter but it is not in your best interest if I give it to you”.

Kali with her sweet brown piercing eyes and  thought bubble over her head with a small picture of my son Michael next to it, “If I only had another biscuit”.

Me with a thought bubble over my head “Kali and Michael have been spending WAY too much time together”.

If I only had another biscuit

If I only had another biscuit