Friday, June 25, 2010

Squirrels, Plums, Wine, and Dawg Tour

There is a squirrel in my plum tree. You can see his tail right opposite the juicy red plum.

The squirrel eats half a plum and tosses it on to the ground. How rude is that? I have about 100 pretty red plums in that tree and this little bastard is thinking it's for him. They are not for him.

Harry is trying to do his job and keep the squirrel out of the yard, but the temptation is just too great. This is annoying me to no end. Alex! Where is the 22 rifle?

I wouldn't really mind as much if the squirrel was eating the whole plum. But he's a wasteful little vermin.

He also goes after the flowers on the trumpet vines. I don't really care about those flowers because there are so many of them and you can't eat them anyway. There are hundreds and hundreds of flowers. It really pisses me off that the squirrel has decided to throw flowers at Harry, but not nearly as mad as I am about my plums! Those plums are sweet and juicy and beautiful and I can even make plum jam out of them for heaven sake! Or I could try my hand at some plum wine!

I'm really sorry, but I think he needs to die. Okay, maybe not die, but have the fear of Harry put into him. I should have taken photos of Harry with his dead squirrel and posted them out in the yard.

I wouldn't even care so much if the damned squirrel took to eating our lemons. We get hundreds every year out of our two lemon trees. I actually thought about throwing a lemon at the squirrel up in the plum tree to give him a concussion (I mean, a chance to taste those yummy lemons).

Actually, Alex said to be careful what I wished for because squirrel is using the plums as hand grenades and if he used the lemons, he could actually do some damage.

We continued our Dawg Tour 2010 today by taking Honey and Harry to Livermore to the wineries. What a nice trip for them. It's about a 45 minute drive to one of our favorite wineries. They lollygagged while Alex and I tasted a few nice reds and bought a case for future consumption.

Here Harry is getting ready for wine tasting while Honey is enjoying the sun and the grass. Looks nice, huh?
They are both pretty happy with wineries and because Alex and I are wino's they get a lot of chances to hang out in them.

We only stayed at the Winery for about an hour, but it was much warmer than it is at home. Honey loves the green lawn and sun on her joints!

And Alex and I love going on short trips!

Livermore has a huge number of small wineries and while it's not as varied as the Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino wine country, it's not bad! (And it's a whole lot closer.) Napa is about an hour and a half to two hours from where we live, but if we don't hit traffic, Livermore is only about 40 minutes and it's a nice ride through vineyards, farm country, and charming small towns.

I think we are going to Bodega Bay this weekend. That's where the Alfred Hitchcock movie "The Birds" was filmed. Harry is very enthusiastic about the trip. He saw the film with us and found it to be unrealistic. We'll see.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Camping, Anyone?

When I was 30, I fell in love, which of course meant I was going to get married.

The object of my affection was an avid outdoorsman, a camper, a cowboy, and loved all things having to do with nature.

I envisioned us taking lovely nature walks along the shore, kissing beneath the seas, with my long blond hair (which I didn't have) ruffling in the breeze. Oh it was a pretty picture! When we went to the High Sierra's to camp for the first time, I packed the cutest clothes and all of my toiletries and cosmetics. You know, with true love you just want everything perfect.

The first day of camping was kind of an eye opener. We were someplace out in the wilderness next to a stream. There were no bathrooms! There were no showers! There was no picnic table. Excuse me, how is this going to work again?

During the day, my soon to be husband (and soon to be ex husband too) set up the tent, set up the camp stools and a camp table, pulled out the sleeping bags, started a fire, hung a tarp thing around what he called the "potty" after digging a hole in the ground. Dear God! This was beginning to look like romance at its best!

I sat on one of the camp stools and watched him, wondering if I had lost my mind. All this flurry of activity in this dirty dusty place. Oh and that stream! How perfect! We could bathe in it. Uh huh. If you can heat it up I'll bathe in it. I'm not going into ice water thank you. I'd rather be dirty.

I will admit he did all of the cooking, the clean up, and such after setting up camp, but I was too traumatized to even think about helping. And worst of all, I was ruining my Italian leather boots with the 3 inch heel I had purchased just for this occasion.

If the daytime was bad, I was soon to find out the night was worse. Howls, noises, funny lights, creepy crawlies, ghosts, vampires, zombies as well as these guys made it impossible for me to sleep.

The second night of camping I relied on a drink (or five) around the campfire before I climbed into the sleeping bag that my beloved had thoughtfully zipped into one large sleeping bag for both of us. Any thoughts of romance probably left his head when he heard my drunken snores. It's hard to believe I lasted for three long nights.

By the end of the trip, this woman looks almost exactly how I was feeling.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bills, Spills, and Chills

The bad news is that I had to pay a lot of money for medical tests for Honey this week. The good news is Honey's tests all came back fine.

I think the money is worth the peace of mind; however, when we are pushing about $800 for diagnostics, it hurts in the wallet. Still, I'm so glad she's okay for now! (She did fall down the stairs this afternoon, and we were worried until she let us know she wasn't in pain, but she was embarrassed.) Honey is a little too fat and it's not good for her joints. The problem is that because I am with her all the time, I don't see the change.

Since it's late June, we decide to have some friends over for dinner last night and do it out in the backyard. I figured we'd have nice weather and so I dragged out tablecloths, napkins, china, silver, and wine glasses for the 8 of us. Alex threw some pork ribs on the BBQ, I made potato salad, strawberry and spinach salad, and curried corn on the cob. Along with some really wonderful crusty french bread and some lovely truffled white cheese, (Nicky where were you?), and a lemon tart for dessert, it was a really nice meal.

Ribs are not elegant food, but neither is corn on the cob. It's fun watching people eat these things! Women are inclined to try and do it delicately. Men just go for it! Because of the ribs, I did not use white napkins. Much too hard to get the stains out. I know you could do paper, and paper plates for that matter, but does anybody really like eating off of paper plates and using paper napkins? I don't.

Of course, if it had not cooled to the low 50's by 5 PM it would have been a little more comfortable. I gave the ladies warm wraps to keep them from shaking too hard from the cold. Ah! Northern Cali! Summer! Never mind, open another bottle of wine. And if it gets colder, we'll pull out the whiskey too!

After dinner, we came in so the boys could play a little poker while the girls sat in the kitchen and gossiped while I cleaned up. It was a fun little evening, particularly on a Tuesday.

Harry and Honey love it when we have outdoor events! They can always find the "weak sister" in the crowd and score some treats!

Monday, June 21, 2010

When All Else Fails, There's Ice Cream

It's been a hectic Monday. By this morning, we realized our girl, Honey, was not feeling good. She only ate about a quarter of her breakfast, and that was after not eating last night either. Honey is getting older, she's about 11.

We talked it over and decided to take her in to the vet. We dropped her off and they said they would call us in a couple of hours. The vet called and said she wanted to do some x-rays, run some lab work, and see if she could tell what was going on. Fine. She also indicated that all of the testing would add up to about $675.

I gulped and said, "well, uh, okay" because what are you going to do, right? The vet called back and said that mostly the x-rays looked okay, but there was one very small place that she wanted to have the radiologist look at tomorrow. Okay, now I am already getting a really bad feeling over this, but the vet said, "Don't worry too much, because it may be nothing." And of course, you really hope you just spent $675 for nothing!

Still, it is cheaper than flying to Tahiti isn't it? We toss Harry in the wagon and went to pick Honey up. She was very happy to see us, and we took them to the Park for a half hour or so. Then we took them to see the Encinal High School Jet Airplane here in Alameda. Harry and Honey thought that was pretty cool. I thought it was too.

Since we were on kind of a military kick, we drove over the the former Naval Air Station and looked around. (Alex's aircraft carrier, the Carl Vinson, had been stationed at Alameda NAS.)

We showed the kids the hanger where Alex's unit used to work, but they found that kind of boring. So we drove over to look at the USS Hornet. This sight is not in the least boring! Even Honey perked up and wanted to take a closer look.

This carrier has been turned into a museum. I've never been aboard, but Alex and his friends have all taken tours. The Hornet is haunted. That's why I'm not going on it. (Ghosts can follow you home totally and you are never sure until it's too late.)

I made Alex pull over so I could show Harry and Honey the ugliest paint I've ever seen on a house. I hope the people didn't mind me taking this picture. I don't even think they saw me. Tell the truth now, who in their right mind would paint a house "Lavender Blue Dilly Dilly?"

In the photo it looks Pepto Pink, but it's really lavender. Very strange. Pepto pink is a strange color for a house as well.

After the little sightseeing jaunt, we took Harry and Honey home to rest. We went for ice cream without them. It's all good.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day, Coast Guard Island, Goddesses, and Farts

Since today is Father's Day, Harry, Honey and I took Alex to lunch at a lovely little bistro in Alameda where they have indoor/outdoor seating. Here is Alex getting ready to have his lunch. Damn! He's a good looking man! Harry and Honey and Smokey gave Alex great Father's Day Cards too. It's a nice touch. My own father (who art in heaven, hallowed be his name) would have approved of the lunch we got!

This is a view of Coast Guard Island, 67 acres of land on the Estuary between Alameda and Oakland.

It is also Harry and Honey's private playground on weekends and after 4 PM most days. Here, they can run free without a leash, chase birds, squirrels, and the occasional feral cat. On hot days they can also dive into the Bay for a swim.

On occasion, we take them to the other side of the Island if the resident military dogs are working with their trainers.

Harry would be a great search and rescue dog we think. Or he would be great at providing security. I sometimes think about taking him to the Coast Guard and volunteering his services. I mean, you can just never do enough for your country, can you?

People in the Coast Guard, (called "Coasties") occasionally jog past the dogs while they are running free. The dogs seem to like the Coasties just fine and vice versa. The only problem is that sometimes Honey tries to follow one on their jog, particularly if he's a cute guy.

We also took the dogs with us when we checked out a little shop that opened that had great windows. I think they call it something like Aphrodite's Closet. While I looked around, and Alex looked uncomfortable, the dogs behaved pretty much except for scaring away customers. I had a little conversation with one of the women who works there and she was running on about how all women are goddesses and such.

The merchandise was pretty goddessy if I do say so myself. I smiled and listened to everything she had to say, and even was shown to the "Fairy Section". Here is a photo of the "Fairy Section".

About this time, Alex and Harry and Honey went outside to wait for me, because either Harry or Honey had farted and it was pretty impressive to encounter. The goddessy ladies who worked there looked very relieved to see them wander out.

I looked at some of the clothing and thought it was great stuff for a goddess or a lady who might work with a Royal Pimp. I did buy a "magic wand" for my grand daughter Abbey who just turned 6. The wand makes the most annoying noise I have ever heard. I will be happy when I hand it over to Abbey.