Rituals

I’ve been thinking about Kali a lot since New Years Day when as her head laid in my hands she took her last breaths. There are so many great memories I have of the rituals we developed over the years. Many of those rituals are carried on by Kloe and Koda, but Kali was the driving force and reason for so many of them.

“Toasty-Time” was a favorite of Kali’s because it involved food! As I prepared my breakfast in the morning she would place herself nearby and I would give her a few pieces of bread. Before moving to the Sierra Nevada Foothills our daily walks along the Creek Trail in Livermore were hardly ever missed. That remains a favorite ritual of mine. Kloe and Koda – the “Red Girls” – joined the pack at our home in the foothills and never got to experience the Creek Trail. While many of our daily rituals are shared with all my girls it’s special to me that the Creek Trail is mine and Kali’s alone.

Meals, especially dinner, were always a big big deal for Kali. Beginning about an 45 minutes before the designated dinner time Kali would lay at a distance, usually in the kitchen close to the food. She would make sure she had a direct view of me which was usually sitting in the family room watching the news. Kali would just stare glare at me trying to will me to my feet to get up and begin the feeding process. The drama was intense! As the time grew closer to dinner time her glare became much more intense and I would begin to sweat from the laser-like energy she was directing at my neck. Ok, I’m making the sweating part up but this part I’m not. When it was time I would stand up and pronounce in a loud booming voice: “The time has come!” Kali would spring to her feet and begin prancing around because she knew this was the signal and food was coming soon. Kali loved her food almost as much as she loved me!

Cuddle Time

I think the ritual I miss the most with Kali is “Cuddle-Time“. This is right before lights out as the girls lay in their designated spots in our bedroom. I spend one on one time with each one of them laying and cuddling with them and reciting certain silly things.

For example, with Kloe I say, “tight, tight, tight.” Because when she was a puppy I used to tell her to sleep tight. Or I say, “See you in the morning Shawnee. I aways see you in the morning.” This is a reference to a John Lennon song called “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)” about his son Sean. At the end of that song John whispers “I’ll see you in the morning Sean.”

When Koda first gets in her mat she positions her body in a full circle; presumably to be warm. She looks like a red doughnut with her nose covered partially by her tail which is wrapped around to complete the circle. Holly says she looks like a fox when she does this. So… my silly thing for Koda is to call her Foxy Lady. I’ll say, “Goodnight Foxy Lady, I’m coming to getcha!” A reference to the Jimmy Hendrix song Foxy Lady where one of final lyrics is, “Here I come baby, I’m coming to get ya!”

For some reason with Kali there were never any silly sayings established. Actually, I guess there is a good reason for that… Kali has always been my confidant. My sounding board. My therapist. She listened without judgement always interested in what I had to say. As I recently confided, Kali takes with her some of my deepest fears and dreams that no one else has ever heard. Full disclosure: Cuddle Time with Kali involved “spooning”. Sometimes we lay in silence and sometimes we had a conversation.

More recently, and as I began to realize that Kali’s days with me would be ending soon, we would reminisce about the old days. We would talk about all the fun times we had together. I told her how much I loved her and that she would always be with me. As always she was patient if I got too windy. Only occasionally would she shake her head or snort to tell me she was tired and ready for sleep. And when she did I would quickly wrap Cuddle Time up, give her one last smooch on her snout and tell her, “Goodnight sweet girl; sleep well.”

Goodnight sweet girl, sleep well.

Sticks

Kloe has never met a stick she didn’t like.

Like all puppies Kloe loved to chew and to this day is still a voracious chewer.  She was nine weeks old when she joined our pack and spent just two weeks in our home in Livermore, CA before we moved to The Golden K, our new home in the mountains.   Our Livermore home was a typical suburban home on a small suburban lot with a compliment of small suburban sticks.   Kloe had no problems finding these tiny sticks and she eagerly gnawed away at them.  We were initially concerned that being so small and young she would swallow too much of the bark and wood shavings she tore off with her razor-like puppy teeth.  But she was never interested in eating the shavings.  Instead she would chew the small sticks into pieces and spit them out in a tidy pile next to her.   She quickly gained our confidence that she wouldn’t eat an entire tree while we weren’t watching.

Being the stick lover that she is you can imagine Kloe’s excitement when we moved to The Golden K on five acres in the foothills covered with oak, cedar, and pine trees.   The amount of sticks now available to her was not simply incremental it was exponential.  It must have been like if I had moved from a home that had a modest wine rack holding six bottles of middle shelf wine to a mansion with a huge wine cellar holding hundreds of bottles of the finest wines money could buy.  Or, more likely, that’s just me projecting and in reality Kloe probably didn’t notice or comprehend the plethora of sticks now available to her and only focused on the stick “at hand” at any given moment.

These days the sticks, like Kloe, are much bigger and she still hasn’t met one she doesn’t like.

One down a million to go….

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Just Another Day

Sing out the old, bring in the new.  Should auld acquaintance be forgot and auld lang syne! Whatever…

Even as a young adult I never enjoyed New Years Eve.

I never liked the pressure and expectation I felt of having to stay up late and have fun “ringing” in the new year.  During the early years of our marriage our friends would urge us to come out for New Years and have fun.  We usually declined because we preferred to be home and in bed at our usual hour.   Later when our children were teenagers and young adults I grew to hate New Years because I worried that my kids were going to make a bad decision at the party they were at or would be on the road late at night with all the real and imagined dangers I laid awake worrying about.

Now my kids are grown, two of them married, and one still at home.   I worry less about them but always feel better waking up New Years Day knowing everyone is safe and we can now get past all this silliness of “New Years” and move on with life.  Yes, I know – what a Scrooge I am!

This year was a little unique in that one of my kids was on vacation in Paris with his wife.   So at 3:15 PM Pacific Time I text him and said “hey – I just realized it’s the new year in Paris. Happy new year”.  Jonathan replied (in his usual dry humor), “Indeed.  Happy New Year from the future…”  My other son was on a plane with his wife flying home to Illinois after spending the holidays in Southern California with her family.  Michael text me about 10:15 PM and said, “happy new year from the central time zone”.  They had made it home from O’Hare just in time for midnight – their first new years eve as a married couple.

My daughter was home and in bed by 10:00.   I knew she would have rather been somewhere else celebrating.  But not much was happening and she stayed in for the night sharing dinner with us and hitting the sack early.  I felt a little bad for her but inside I was happy that I could retire not having to worry about her getting home.

And then there is my Golden Kali for whom December 31 really is just another one the 364 and 1/4 days per year.

Except for the “boom-booms”.  The boom-booms began at midnight and lasted for about 30 minutes.

As expected, they spooked Kali and made her uneasy.  The firecrackers and other means of “ringing” in the new year make Kali very skittish.   She experienced the same thing this past July 4th.  After last night I know I’ll need to get something (hopefully something natural) that I can use to  proactively help her stay calm during periods of foolish (see, what a Scrooge I am!) celebration and also during the occasional thunderstorm (which will occur more regularly later this year but more on that in a future post).

Kali and I began our day like most others: rising relatively early, breakfast for Kali, coffee and the sports section for me, and so on from there.  I have to admit that as much as I dislike New Years Eve I have always really liked News Year Day.  Part of the reason is that New Years Eve is over with and the other part is that during the morning much of the neighborhood and town is asleep from to much ringing, singing, and auld lang syne-ing the night before.

Like almost every other morning, Kali and I walked along our creek trail out to the pond and back along the fairways of hole number four and five of the recently closed golf course.  It was just another morning except the world was just a little more quiet than usual because of the aforementioned sleeping singers, ringers, and syners.

So 2016 begins just as 2015 began and ended:  by waking up next to my bride of 33 years whom I remain desperatly in love with, by thinking about my kids spread around the globe that I am so proud of, and with a dog by my side waiting patiently for me to get up so that we can get on with our routine and enjoy this, which is just another day.

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Just another day at the pond…. (1/1/16)

 

 

GPS – Golden Positioning System

Kali loves car rides.

When Holly is with me Kali lies down in the back seat and relies on us to the get to right place.  But apparently she has caught on to the fact that when Holly is in the car she tends to provide a lot of “input” about which road to take and where to turn.  So, when it’s just me and Kali, she insists on helping out with the navigation.  But Kali’s technique is a little different than Holly’s…

Kali will look to the skies and quickly establish connection with a satellite staying fixed on it in order to relay the correct coordinates to me, her pilot.  The cockpit is a little awkward for her but she doesn’t seem to mind and she almost always gets us to our destination on time and without incident.  Which is usually the pet store where treats and praise await my co-pilot.

Golden Positioning System

Golden Positioning System

Our Duck Pond

It’s not the greatest pond in the world.  It’s not even the greatest pond in town.  But it is our adopted pond; our “Duck Pond”.  It’s come to represent the special time Kali and I have, usually early in the morning, when the air is cool and the ducks are still sleeping in their nests (until Kali arrives and gives a woof or two).  It reminds me of how fortunate we are to live in an area that is safe, prosperous, and pretty.   But mostly it reminds of how often I didn’t stop to appreciate our neighborhood creek and ponds until Kali got here last year and we began our morning ritual of walking and “smelling the roses”.

So this morning I took this “pano” shot shot with my iPhone that  provides a 180 degree perspective (what did we do before our phones only made calls?!?) that captures the usual turn-around point of our early morning treks, our walks, and our bonding time; me and my Golden Kali.

Kali's Duck Pond

Kali’s Duck Pond