Tag Archives: weather

A Little Change of Pace for this Post

Jillian here. I decided I’ve been whining too much on my posts and, instead of bemoaning the direct hit hurricane we had here in September and the loss of power for several days, I thought I’d share a little story I wrote for a contest (I didn’t win or place)–The theme was all about smells. I picked New Orleans as my setting as it is full of smells, both good and bad. 🙂 Hope you enjoy.

Beauregard, Canine Cop

Stale beer and vomit. Stale beer and vomit. The mantra played in my head as I trotted along at the end of my leash. The New Orleans French quarter has a distinctive character as well as scent. Being a canine cop for the city police department comes with some perks. Like all the andouille sausage I want because, after all, who’s a good boy? Me. I am. Especially when I find the bad guys. Or a corpse.

Today is a corpse finding day. Maybe. There was a shooting outside the Old Absinthe House on Bourbon Street last night. And several people called in sightings of someone gut-shot staggering down the street. That street called Bourbon that didn’t smell like bourbon, but stunk like the rest of the Quarter. Stale beer and vomit with a side order of urine and semen in some of the darker corners.

My partner has me out following a spotty trail of blood. It started out thick and viscous but petered out as we went on. I ran quickly at first, barking once in a while to show my enthusiasm. Not that I’m ever very thrilled to chase scents on city streets. Too many distractions. Meats cooking, stir-frys, strong perfume, cigarettes, and tourists sweating. I try to focus, but this area of town is tough. I’d rather be out near the old abandoned Six Flags Park as it’s easier to follow human scent in the wild. At least we weren’t over by the Cafe Du Monde today. The odor of the donut grease and powdered sugar is really almost too much.

Powdered sugar makes me sneeze which I guess is good to clear out my sinuses to be a better  tracker, but I like to stay away from that street if I can help it. Too many people there, too. It’s easy to lose the thread of the quarry’s trail when there’s a big crowd and there’s always one at Jackson Square.

Sadly, I’m not the master of my own domain.  I go where I’m taken. Crime fighting is not for everyone. My partner, who egotistically calls himself my handler, sometimes makes me mad when he pulls me off a trail that may lead to something I want. Like that time last week I absolutely craved locating that dead possum and having a small little snack. My partner jerked me away and tossed that lovely carcass in the closest ravine. Brat.

Focus, focus. Find the dead man. Find the dead man. Stop thinking about snacks.

I stopped in the middle of the sidewalk. Is that a faint tinge of human blood?

Before I can lift my snout and determine where it’s coming from, my partner jerked a bit on my leash. “Come on, Beauregard. It’s not time to rest. You need to earn your sausage.’

Humpf. Earn my sausage. Right. Give me a minute, old man.

My partner turned to another officer. A detective I like a lot. She’s a real lady. Always smells clean, like soap. A refreshing thing in this town full of bad aromas. She also usually carries a few pieces of kibble in her jacket pocket.

“Beau seems to be off his game today, doesn’t he?” my partner asked her.

“Give him a chance. The droplets have virtually disappeared. He needs to recapture the scent.” She knelt down and slipped me a bacon flavored treat. Ahh, bacon.

This is another reason I like her. She doesn’t rush me. My partner sometimes gets a bit impatient. He should know better. He’s supposed to be trained, too.

She patted me. “You’ll find the man, Beau. I have faith in you.”

Refreshed by the bacon and her praise, I lifted my nose in the air and concentrated on the odor of the dead guy’s blood. Trying to locate the scent by isolating it out of the atmosphere was harder than usual. Some guys up on one of the balconies were cooking burgers and hot dogs. The smoke wafting out from the wrought iron balustrades was distracting, to say the least. Yes, I just had a snack but surely it must be lunch time by now.

Although lunch time usually found me sitting in the station eating kibble or in our rig with the air conditioner running while my partner ate at 9 Roses Cafe near the cop shop. Trying to hit on the pretty detective. I don’t think he’s ever going to get her to go out with him even though I’d like it too. Since I live with him, she’d surely come by if she was dating him. I’d get lots of attention from her. In fact, I think she likes me better than she likes him. Oh, to be human.

As I pondered all the fun times we’d have if she came over, I caught a faint wisp of that blood I was seeking.

Without letting my partner know what I was going to do, I took off in a run. I probably pulled his shoulder out of joint judging by the way he yelped when I jerked him into a trot. Serves him right for acting like I’d lost the trail. Never mind that I had for a moment or two. What does he know?

Down the block we went until we ended up at a shotgun house painted yellow with green shutters. I loped up onto the porch and clawed at the door. The guy is in this house. I got a whiff of him. He smells like decayed leaves and something metallic.

There was another aroma as well. Fear. Sweat. Someone inside was terrified. There was someone in there with the guy. The stench of the terror came at me in waves.

I sat back on my haunches and whimpered. Man, I wish I could speak English and warn my partner there was danger inside to whoever was trapped in there with the bleeding man. The dude most likely wasn’t a corpse if this other person was so afraid.

Since I couldn’t tell him my thoughts, but knew I alerted on the door for a reason, my partner didn’t wait for me to do anything else. He knocked on the door and called out, “New Orleans Police.”

Nothing happened for a moment. Just me, the detective and my partner on the porch in silence.

Then a lady’s voice, “Please go away. I’m ill and can’t let you in. It’s contagious.”

“We can’t go, ma’am. We’re looking for someone who was shot before dawn and the trail leads here. We need to come inside and check for this man.”

“I don’t know what you mean. There’s nobody here. I promise.”

“Please let us in.” The detective knocked herself. “We can’t leave without checking the premises. Even if the man is dead, we need to come in.”

“There’s no dead person here.” The lady’s voice quavered.

At her words, my concern for the woman inside the house grew. She said there wasn’t a corpse. That meant I was right and there was a live person in there, holding her hostage.

Luckily, my partner had dropped my leash. He trusted me to stay put. This time, I wasn’t going to obey the rules. Someone was in trouble and I was the only one who knew it. I couldn’t verbalize what I knew, so I was going to have to act. Somehow.

I sidled away from the porch, hoping to find an entry point. If I could get my teeth on the guy, this would all be over.

Slinking around the corner, I inspected each window to see if there was one left open. I could see a couple of window unit air conditioners and hoped some of the windows without them were open to catch a cross breeze. No such luck. They were all tightly closed.

Luckily, the back door was a little bit ajar. I could see some blood droplets leading from it into the center of the next room. The guy must’ve been too hurt or lost too much of his vital fluids to have thought about closing it all the way. Stupid move for him, but lucky for me.

I nudged the door open with my nose and hoped my toenails didn’t give me away on the wood floor.

As I crept deeper into the house, the smell of the blood grew stronger as well as the stench of that lady’s fear.

I could hear my partner and the detective still trying to communicate from the front porch. There was no response from inside the house.

Small sobs alerted me to the hostage’s location. She was somewhere near the front door. Now I needed to know where the man with the bullet in him was sitting. I was pretty sure he wouldn’t be standing based on the amount of blood on the ground at the crime scene and along my path to this house.

“Stop crying or I’ll shoot you now.”

She gasped in fear, but I knew he’d never do it while officers were within hearing distance. All his words did was make her cry harder—but still almost silently—and alert me to his location.

As soon as I had a bead on him, I tore directly toward him, counting on the element of surprise.

I threw myself at him, paws out. My full weight hit him in the shoulders and chest.

Gore and mucus and other nasty smelling stuff from his gut wound covered my stomach where I hit him. Ugh.

Luckily, the weapon he was holding skittered across the wood floor.

The lady had the sense to grab it while I barked with my whole being.

Before the hostage could open the door, the injured man was screaming at her. “Get your dog off me. Get your dog off me.” I bit down on his arm to lock him in place although he didn’t seem to have much strength left to fight me.

The lady of the house stood there in a daze with the gun in her hand as my partner and the detective came in from the back.

“Beauregard. Are you okay?” my partner called out.

“Get this foul beast off me.” The wounded man fought against my hold on his arm. He was causing himself more pain. My teeth tend to create more damage when people fight against their grip. I might also have bit down a little harder. Foul beast? Me? Look in the mirror, mister. I’m not the foul one here. Except for your guts all over me.

While my partner called for an ambulance and took the man into custody, allowing me to release my grip, the detective turned to the former hostage who seemed a bit perkier now. “Do you know this man?”

“No. He barged into my house and said he was going to wait here for help. He called someone and they were bringing a doctor. He said he’d let me go when they got here. Then you knocked on the door and he threatened to kill me if I let you in.” She drew in a shuddering breath.

By this time, the man had passed out. Blood loss was my guess. He was really pale and barely breathing. No more fight left in this one.

The detective knelt down beside me. Even though I reeked with the man’s guts all over me, she kissed me on top of the head. “You’re such a good boy, Beau. Even if you stink and broke the rules about leaving your partner. Great work.”

She didn’t have to acknowledge my stench. With my nose, I was more aware of it than anyone in the room. It was nice to be kissed by a pretty detective, but a bit embarrassing to be so disgusting from my work. Just wait until I have a bath. Then she’ll see I’m worth not only a kiss on the head, but also some belly rubs. Oh, and being given extra andouille sausages and bacon treats. Mustn’t forget those.

*THE END*

We’ve Gone A Little Potty

So, here we are: the start of August, middle of summer, and yes, it’s tipping with rain for the second day running. After the driest July on record for the UK, we’ve had more rain in the West Country in one day than for the whole of last month. Typical! At least it isn’t cold, but this dismal weather is a disappointment. I was looking forward to spending the week enjoying the sunshine in the garden with my mother, who’s staying here for a while. The trip was planned for some time but bought forward by an unfortunate accident, one that has brought amusement to the family.

Mum is unable to walk far or do a lot around the house or her large garden due to an ongoing back condition. My sister, who also lives on her own, has been taking care of her for the past year, doing her shopping, helping around the house, and looking after the garden. A few weeks ago, Ursula tripped on a damaged paving slab in the street, fell and broke her wrist in several places, needing surgery to insert a metal plate, such was the severity of the injury. Obviously, this means she is now out of action for some weeks and unable to do much for herself, let alone for Mum. Fortunately, my other sister, Ursula’s twin, lives near both of them, and Lydia has been doing all the driving, errands, personal help, and shopping etc, for both.  Mum was upset because she could doing little in return for Ursula,  having broken her own wrist several years ago so knows what it is like to cope with one arm in plaster. So Mum thought now was a good time to come and stay in order to give both my sisters a break (excuse the pun!).

What amused the family, although it is no laughing matter, was the coincidence that the very same day Ursula took her tumble, our brother in Spain, also fell over, and broke his wrist too! They are all now waiting for it to happen to me; I’m the only one in the family not to have broken a wrist.

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20160802_113410Mum is/was an avid gardener, loves plants and enjoys pottering about outside a little but nothing that involves bending. She loves seeing our garden and we share lots of tips, hints and advice, all of us always eager to learn. Spring provided  a lovely display but the summer show isn’t at its best this year. We’ve not done a lot because the beds are being ripped out this autumn, ready for the big revamp (new larger patio, larger greenhouse, new fencing etc; at least, that’s the plan). To make up for the shortfall, we’ve gone rather overboard with pots and containers; far more than usual. We love bold colours, colour clashes and perfume and the bright colours do bring rays of sunshine to the garden despite the rain.

20160802_113743But with the pouring rain, all we can do at the moment is enjoy the display from the patio window. With luck, the weather will improve over the next few days to enable Mum and me to get out there, put up the sunshade and enjoy some summer sun in the garden, preferably reading a book and enjoying a cocktail or two.

Hold on a moment… is that a bit of blue sky I can see creeping over the horizon?

The Beauty in the Rain by Valerie J. Patterson

I don’t know about where you live, but here in beautiful Pennsylvania it’s been raining and raining and raining with one or two dry days thrown in the mix.  I don’t normally mind rain, but when the meteorologist comes on the TV and says that had the rain in June been snow, we’d have had 48 inches of the fluffy white stuff, it kind of gets your attention!

About the biggest complaint I have about rain is walking to and from work in it.  The back splash of heels in water on dress trousers is a bit of a drag, not to mention the fact that wearing open-toed shoes is not a good idea.  But it’s summer, and your toes are all dressed up for show and you just don’t want to hide them inside shoes.

Aside from that, rain is beautiful.  I was standing at the kitchen window staring out at my Red Sweet Gum tree, marveling at the variety of shades of green that seemed sharper and brighter and more vivid in the rain.  For those unfamiliar with Red Sweet Gum trees, the leaves are star shaped and absolutely wonderfully aromatic.  I stood admiring my tree–the setting sun glistened off the rain water settling on the leaf stars.  I was amazed at how vastly different the tree looked in the aftermath of a summer storm.  I grabbed my camera and headed outside to attempt to gain a few frames of the beauty.  I snapped several pictures from several spots in the yard and at varying angles, but I simply could not capture what I’d seen from the kitchen window.  It was that “once and but for a moment” beauty where the setting is perfect–the sunshine was in the perfect degree of brightness, the rain water was in its early stages of dropping off the tree leaves–the setting was perfect.  By the time I’d attempted to capture it, the moment had passed.  It’s true, I have some nice photos, but none of them are THE one photo I wanted.

I’ve been enjoying the summer rains, tolerating the thunder storms, and keeping my pretty toes tucked inside shoes–nice and dry.  Thanks to a tree full of star-shaped leaves I’ve grown to appreciate even more the beauty in the rain.  It’s more than nature’s way of watering the gardens, making plants and grass grow, and keeping things somewhat cleaner than without the rain.  It’s about seeing the mist of a shower, hearing the rhythm of a storm, and admiring the rainbow at the end.  It’s noticing how the rain enhances the colors of the world around us.

Until next time, may the rain in your life bring beauty and inspiration.

The Bank’s Closed – Oh No, What Shall We Do?

Here we are at the start of May and it’s difficult to believe the year is a third of the way through already. So, what have I achieved from my to-do list? Frankly, not a lot. Whilst I’ve been busy with home stuff, creating the odd painting or two and pottering here and there in the garden, there is much I still want to achieve this year. But not today. Today, in England, it is a bank holiday: May Day – or as it has become called: the Early Spring Holiday, as opposed to the Late Spring Holiday at the end of May; what used to be called the Whit Monday Holiday. This early May bank holiday is a fairly recent introduction, only coming into being in 1974, along with the New Year’s Day bank holiday, prior to which most of us had to go back to work following a late night celebrating New Year’s Eve.

The idea of bank holidays, when all banks and finance institutions closed for business for a day, was introduced in 1871 by Sir John Lubbock: Easter Monday, Whitsun Monday, the first Monday in August (subsequently changed to the last Monday) and Boxing Day. The remainder were known as public holidays, being Christmas Day and Good Friday. These have also come to be referred to as bank holidays. Companies are not obliged to pay staff for bank holidays although many do; others include the bank holidays as part of the annual holiday allowance. Some crucial services that do work on a bank holiday pay overtime for those that have to work, although that is phasing out as more and more places, particularly shops, remain open.

In 2011 there was a motion by some members of Parliament to scrap the May Day bank holiday in favour of a national saint’s day, or VE day, or some such, but that appears to have died a death, although many are campaigning still for it. The same with the nonsense of the clocks changing every spring and autumn.

What has become traditional for English bank holidays is lousy weather. You can guarantee almost with certainty a British bank holiday will be cold, windy and very wet; never a good day for organising an outdoor event, although occasionally we do get fantastic weather. Today, here for the moment at least, it is dry, with sunny breaks in the clouds but the forecast is for rain on the way. Another certainty is lousy programmes on the television, so even as it’s pouring outside, you can guarantee everyone will be even more bored staying indoors with rubbish programmes to watch. Three cheers for the movie channels and on-demand TV. Still, the food can be cooked in the oven instead of the barbi should the rain clouds open up.

Another English tradition for bank holidays is to while away the time in the car, stuck in endless miles of traffic jams caused by roadworks, breakdowns, accidents, often caused by disruption on the railways as they deem these perfect days to carry out repairs and maintenance. All this means by the time you eventually reached the coast for a weekend at the seaside, you are fraught with temper, tired, and the kids irritable and wanting to go home. All jolly good fun. Not.

20150504_113810A further tradition is visiting the supermarket on a Friday and doing enough shopping to stock up for a hurricane or being snowed in or just-in-case visitors drop in; as if the shops are going to be closed for a month when, in fact, the majority are open all year (with the exception of Christmas Day), 24-hours a day in some cases. Still, what else is there to do on a wet, cold, miserable bank holiday other than eat, drink and try to be merry. Others make an annual pilgrimage to the shopping mall in search of things such as new furniture, particularly garden equipment in the hope of a hot, balmy summer; to the DIY store for paint and stuff to do decorating indoors; or more generally just for something to do that normally entails going round and round the car park for hours looking for an empty space to squeeze into, or being stuck there for hours trying to get back out but can’t because the roads are gridlocked because of the traffic standstill on the motorway and no-one’s moving.

So, what are my husband and I doing today? Not a lot. Certainly not sat in a traffic jam. Certainly not filling our shopping bags or trawling the shops. No, for us, it is a day to enjoy at home pottering in the greenhouse or relaxing and unwinding enjoying the spring garden, or doing nothing. Me? I’m about to get the paints out and create another masterpiece (she says in hope).

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Whatever you are doing this Monday, enjoy.

What’s your favorite season of the year?

So…it’s been another strange winter. While others around the country have been deluged with rain, snow and wind, our Pacific Northwest weather has been quiet and almost balmy in comparison. Even our mountains are desperate for snowfall. We’re all concerned because that snowpack feeds our rivers and tributaries, and by default, irrigates our crops.

These hills should be covered in snow.

These hills should be covered in snow.

As someone who likes seasons to look different, I wish (and I say this very quietly) we could have a bit more snow in winter. This is our second year of no real measurable lowland snow, and I love a walk in the snow. I’m the first one out the door when the flakes begin to cascade down. I like Spring to be full of rain and flowers. Summer to be warm and rejuvenating. And Fall to be alive with changing leaf colors, then fading into the hibernating chill of winter.

We are very, very lucky to live here. We have our issues, mostly flooding when we get too much rain. Sadly, that’s meant some loss of life, most recently with the Oso slide in early 2014 where we lost 41 people. So I’m not complaining. I know we are lucky.

I just wish I’d seen a bit of snow.

How about you? How did Old Man Winter treat you this year? Were you part of the January blizzard in the Northeast? Sunny and warm all winter long? Is winter your least favorite season? Which one do you like best?

Porch-Sittin’ Weather by Valerie J. Patterson

The county courthouse I work in is practically older than dirt.  It has a large front porch–for lack of a better term.  It has massive, aged columns and a huge bell tower upon which stands a statue of the man the county is named after–Revolutionary War Major General Nathanael Greene.  The original courtroom is big with high archways and walls lined with portraits of the judges who’ve administered justice through the courthouse’s existence.  It’s a pretty impressive courthouse.  But it’s the front porch I want to talk about.

Greene County Courthouse

The courthouse is at the heart of town.  Anyone going anywhere has to pass the front of the courthouse in order to get where they’re going.  There are park benches on the front porch inviting folks to sit a while.  This is where I’ve come to spend my lunch breaks the past two months or so.

It’s not always easy to get out of the office and go to a restaurant for lunch, but it does occur.  Usually, when that happens, my hubby picks me up and whisks me away for an hour of quiet conversation and a sandwich or a salad.  I love those hours.  I covet those hours because it’s a small bit of time we get together in an otherwise busy day.

If I can’t get away, I head for the front porch.  I take a bottle of water, some protein biscuits, a pen and a tablet.  I head for the park bench farthest from the main doors and–after stealing a glance at the clock on the bank across the street–I settle in and start working on my manuscript.  I usually get half a bottle of water and two biscuits down before my mind pulls away from my work and my eyes begin to take in the sights and sounds.

One afternoon I watched a man stopped at a traffic light watch a woman cross the street.  So intent was he on watching her that he turned down a one-way street and the man in the car he cut off yelled loud enough that he stopped and backed out of the one-way street and scurried on his way.

I watched a bride and groom come rushing out the front doors after one of the judges married them and instantly pose for photos,  I’ve seen families pose for photos with the child they just adopted.  And I’ve seen divorcing couples argue all the way down the front steps, stopping on the sidewalk to continue the heated exchange.  Mostly, I watch folks hurry from one end of town to the next and back again.  After all, that hour tends to fly when you fill it with errands.

It seems that no matter the heat of the day, there’s always a lovely breeze coming across the front porch.  I enjoy that breeze.  It relaxes me and refreshes me and energizes me to finish my day.  My Dad was an accomplished porch-sitter.  In the evenings after dinner and whatever chores he had to complete, he’d grab a tall glass of my Mom’s homemade iced tea and head for the front porch.  He’d chat with whomever passed in front of the house, but mostly he sat quietly just soaking up the evening.

There are days when I’m sitting on the park bench and I think of him.  I just know he’d enjoy sitting on that front porch with me.  I hope it remains porch-sittin’ weather for a long while!

Until next time, I hope there’s a porch in your life where you can sit and recharge.  May it always be perfect porch-sittin’ weather for you, too!

Cloudy With A Chance of “Rain Day” by Valerie J. Patterson

Rain Day statue in borough park

Rain Day statue in borough park

According to the rain record, it’s rained on July 29th 113 of the last 138 years in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania.  Now, this may seem an odd thing for someone to track, but in Greene County, we celebrate the fact that one local farmer made a comment to William Allison, a local pharmacist back in the late 1800s, that it always seemed to rain on July 29th.  Mr. Allison and his brother Albert kept a record of the rainfall until the 1920s when Bryon Daily took over the recordkeeping.  Today, we close off High Street, the main thoroughfare through uptown—we have no “downtown” as you must go up a hill to get to downtown Waynesburg —and we have an old fashioned street fair.  The center of the festival takes place on the courthouse steps.  This tradition began in 1979, and Rain Day is the only celebrated holiday in the world that is not a success unless it rains!!

Greene County Courthouse

Greene County Courthouse

1939 marks the earliest record of the notorious “Hat Bet” when celebrities—the likes of which include Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, The Three Stooges, Johnny Carson, Willard Scott, Harry Anderson, Mike Love of the Beach Boys, Fran Drescher, Jay Leno, and the Dixie Chicks, just to name a few—wagered their hats against our rain!  The hats won from the multitude of celebrities who lost their wagers are on display here while others were auctioned off in order to raise funds to begin a hospice care in the 1980s.

High Street

High Street

Rain Day festivities include the Miss Rain Day Pageant, comedy and musical entertainment, face painting, food booths, the Texaco Country Showdown, umbrella decorating competition, turtle racing, bubble gum bubble blowing competition, and the Company K Salute.

High Street, 2

High Street, 2

The Company K Salute commemorates the courageous Greene County men of Company K, 2nd Battalion, 110th Infantry.  The Rain Day festivities are stilled each year and a moment of silence is given in honor of those brave men of Company K.  Nearly half their 250 men were either killed or wounded in France during World War I on Rain Day, July 29, 1918.  The late John O’Hara, a local newsman, is often quoted for having once written, “On that Rain Day in 1918, it rained bullets on the men of Company K.”

Young or old, the people come out to celebrate and hope it pours!

If you’d like to know more about Rain Day, navigate the Rain Day website, which can be found at: Rain Day

If you’re going to be in the area and would like to enter your turtle in the race, just come on over…but you might want to bring your umbrella!

Until next time…may the rain in your life always be a cool summer shower and a cause for celebration!!

OOOPS!

Sorry I missed my day to post. Just put my head on the pillow and realized it was the third Monday of the month. That pesky first being on a Monday threw me off. Tomorrow is my father’s 73rd birthday and his gift is a possible bypass surgery. We’re not sure yet as he may be able to get by with just a stent or two but the decision won’t be made until tomorrow. So, I’m a bit stressed and discombobulated. Sorry.

Feeling very down about the whole Boston Marathon bombing as well as the Iraq bombing today. Why is there such evil in the world? It just don’t get that mentality. Hurting others even by words is something I try not to do. I can’t even fathom the kinds of things these monsters are thinking. Wow. I’ve been praying for the victims all afternoon.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful april weather-wise. I know it’s been rough all over and I hope the snows some of you are having have finally stopped.

Let’s all hope for sunny skies and good things to happen the rest of the month. I’m hanging in there and hope anyone who sees this post is as well. We must believe in better days, right?

Warming up with Walkies

Since last April, it seems as if we’ve hardly gone a few days without being rained on here in the UK. Many places have seen flooding during the unprecedented rainfall, with homes and businesses being flooded over and over again. I can only imagine how depressing that must be for those people caught up in this miserable cycle, replacing carpets and furniture only to have them destroyed again as another deluge descends. Thankfully, the rain seems to have abated, and while we’ve had the coldest March since 1963, at least it has dried up a little and at times the sun has even peeked through.

We woke up to pretty chilly temperatures again this morning and they’re set to continue throughout the Easter weekend. Our favourite way to warm up is a visit to our local animal rescue centre where we are volunteer dog walkers. On the journey to the centre, we stop off at a farm shop for coffee/hot chocolate, sometimes accompanied by a tasty cake or bun. This morning we resisted the cakes as we’re both trying to shed a few pounds 🙂

Tricia with Daisy and CJWhen we reached the centre, we were greeted by Daisy, the German Shephard, and CeeJay, a Westie, two delightful sisters who are always eager to get out in the country lanes for their walk. They came to the centre when their elderly owner died and are absolutely devoted to each other. On the walk, if one of them stops to sniff or do the necessary, the other one waits patiently until they can both walk on together again. They are absolutely delightful, even if they refuse to look the same direction when having their photo taken 🙂 We were so pleased to know that they will soon be going home with their new owners who are thrilled to adopt them both. Such good news for these lovely girls.

TorWe also took Tor, a two year old Springer Spaniel and a real force of nature. Tor is very bright and gets bored very easily, so out on walks she’s all over the place searching for the next interesting thing.
AJ and Enzo 'Ferrari'Then there’s Enzo, who AJ has nicknamed Ferrari, because when he sits waiting for his walk, he’s like an engine revving for take off. He’s a beautiful two year old boy who is incredibly affectionate and really loves to be cuddled and stroked. A real delight.

What I love about these rescue dogs is that, regardless of the reasons they’ve come to the centre, often too harrowing to contemplate, they live in the moment. Even more amazing is how even after being ill treated they have this ability to let go of the past and put their trust in another human, often showering their love and affection even after a moment of meeting people. To continually put themselves on the line by giving their trust away so readily after it’s been broken, perhaps time and time again, is quite a thing and perhaps one of the reasons why dogs so easily capture my heart.

Photo0099Oh, in case you’re wondering, our guide dog puppy, Vinnie, has now entered full time training as it was decided that he’s basically too bright for his own good 🙂 We weren’t too surprised, believe me that boy is Oxford University equivalent material, but we were sad to say goodbye. We’ll be doing some boarding for guide dogs throughout the summer, so hopefully it won’t be too long to wait for our next charge.

Hope everyone has a lovely Easter weekend, and that the sun shines on you wherever you are.

Happy March

I love March. It’s the month that both of my children were born and it’s also one of the best months weather-wise that we have in Florida. It’s cool in the morning and evenings and the sun is usually shining with the lovely blue sky peeking through the puffy stark-white clouds. A true piece of paradise.

I’m looking foward to a semi-quiet month -oh, wait- maybe not since the schools’ and colleges’ spring breaks are all coming up soon and that means traffic, traffic, traffic. Those folks love to hit our beaches and who can blame them? There goes my peaceful month but since it happens every year it’s almost like azaleas blooming. It’s going to happen whether we want it to or not. I’ll adapt and handle it.

On a totally unrelated topic- or maybe not since I’m going to tie it together- My sister hates a lot of the new slang words such as “Kewl” for cool, “you rock”, “little man” for a baby, “po-po” for police and “woot” for good news. There’s a long list but I’m sure you get my drift.

For the month of March I hope you all can “chillax” which is slang for chill out and relax at the same time. That’s my goal for the month. One inhabitant of my house knows how to chillax like a professional. Check him out:hobbes