Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Lhasa Apso Isn’t So Bella After All

If you know me, you know I like dogs, cats, birds, fish, mice, guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, goats, COWS (I like them a lot!), horses and most people (well...a lot of people). What I don’t like is this little rat-style icky dog that barks, digs, scratches and nips!

I tried. I really tried. And even though I only spend about an hour each morning with this mutt, it is an hour I could do without and I wouldn’t miss her at all. Besides I have my own doggy and kitty to spend time with! (And they are a very good doggy and kitty.)

I’d cut the cord today. I’d just tell the neighbor’s sister that dog-sitting her pooch everyday while she’s at work Monday-Friday is not working out and that she needs to find another sitter.

Mike is not as direct as me. So he’ll probably let this situation bleed out through Friday. I guess I can make it another three mornings with the little rat-style icky dog that barks, digs, scratches and nips and then THAT’S IT!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Pozole in Ballard

Years ago I went through an American Sign Language Interpreter Training program at Seattle Central Community College. And over the years I have remained in touch with two people (Jackie and Mick) that went through the program with me and yesterday we all got together for comida at Jackie's and husband, Kurt’s, home.

The pretty table just waiting for us…

Mick, who spends a lot of time at his second home in Zihuatanejo.

Jackie and Kurt treated us to homemade pazole. Pazole is a traditional Mexican stew full of things like corn or maize, pork or chicken, chili peppers and all kinds of seasonings. We had a traditional cabbage, radish and lime garnish – well traditional to Mick anyway!

Here's Mike, Mick, Kurt and the back of Jackie's head - all ready to dive into the hearty meal with a mixed bean and avocado salad and fresh tortillas to boot. Of course, a couple of shots of tequila and a Mexican beer rounded out the meal.

Ahhh, but coffee and dessert were the finishing touches…Jackie made a most delicious tres leches cake that was the perfect ending to our fiesta.

Thank you, Jackie and Kurt – it was great! And it was also great to see Mick…next time Kenmore!

p.s. It was our first time to leave Rock and Squeak alone at home while we were gone. And guess what? No problems - they did just fine!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pleased to Meet You, Won’t You Guess My Name?

We’ve been snapping and snapping, taking pictures of these three little bundles of energy, but we’re having a hard time getting them to stand still! Nevertheless, we have come up with a few cute pics.

Ladies and gentlemen – we’d like to introduce you to Rock, Squeak and their “cousin” Bella (yep, she turned out to be a female Lhasa Apso).

Here’s our diggity-dog, Rock…“Let's go outside and play!"

“Ahhh…it’s so nice and warm in front of the fireplace. Can you turn the stereo up a bit?”

“I’m a happy dog!”

Here’s our kitty-cat, Squeak. They told us he was named Squeak because he didn’t have a meow. But he does! I’ll have to record that. And see that light-colored patch on his side? Apparently he had a tangle with a pit bull years ago.

“I’ve never been outside, but that sun looks so inviting…” They told us Squeak would bolt if he ever went outside. He went out with Rock on his 3rd day here. And he has been out every day since. (Yes, we have nametags on both of them with our phone number.)

And here is that straight-standing stick of a tail Squeak sports.

“Arf, arf, meow, meow – we’re hungry!” Dinnertime!

While we are smitten with these two new adopted critters and they are very loving and well-behaved, I cannot say the same for the sister’s Lhasa Apso (see previous 3 posts) that Mike has been doggie-sitting this week. It’s something about a small, fluffy dog…that’s just not my idea of a dog. I like a big, strong, playful dog – like Sitka and Rock!

Here’s that little Bella now…ewwwwwww…

And here are the three amigos. Hehehe…notice who’s outside?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Changes in the 'Hood, Part III

Yep, I clearly remember Mike last week telling me over the phone, “Our world is about to get rocked...” But Mike’s a joker - I never know when he is kidding with me. But this time was different and so the story continues. Read all the way to the end...

When I came home from work on Tuesday, Rock had officially moved into our home and was now our new diggity-dog. He is a mixed-breed dog, but looks like he’s mainly Australian shepherd. He has one of those little bobbed tails, small & floppy ears and a solid body. He is a chocolate color with a small white chest patch. His temperament is excellent, even in this sad time. Those first few days he’d sit on our patio and gaze east to the building he used to live in. I imagine he’s wondering where his “real dad” went and why he is over at the neighbors’ place.

The fact that a suicide was committed in our neighborhood has really opened up some dialog with Mike, our friends and some blog readers. I don’t know how people get to that point. Quality of life? Tired of hanging on? Nothing to look forward to? Broke and desperate? Mental health issues? Sick and tired of being sick and tired? A visit to Señor Zapata’s blog last week found the same topic and many reader comments.

So Wednesday morning I got up and said, “Good morning, Rock!” He was such a good doggie his first night with us. And then I went to work. That afternoon, as I was leaving work to head home, I called Mike. He told me that our neighbor’s sister had been back to see Mike and she had another request. Mike tried to tell me we’d discuss it when I got home, but he hinted around in a way that I had to keep asking him questions.

And then I finally got it out of him. The sister has a little doggie, a Lhasa Apso. This little doggie and Rock have been hanging out together for seven years. You see, the sister dropped her doggie off at her brother’s every morning on her way to work. That way, the two doggies could play together while she was at work. So what was her request???

She wants Mike to take care of her Lhasa Apso Monday-Friday, just like her brother had been doing. When I got this information out of Mike, I could tell he could have gone either way. But the more he talked about it and described how the two doggies loved each other, the more I could hear in his voice that he wanted to tell the sister he’d do it. So he did and beginning today Mike will have two doggies to watch. Maybe a doggie day care business is in Mike’s future...

And, believe it or not, there is one more element to this story. Once Mike got over telling me about the Lhasa Apso, he told me about the cat.

In addition to Rock, and unbeknownst to us, our neighbor also had a cat. His sister explained to Mike that the cat was still in the neighbor’s apartment, but that he needed a home. She went on to tell Mike how the two doggies and the cat were all pals and that they loved each other very much and that the three of them have been hanging out for seven years together and she would hate to break them apart.

I was still on a phone call with Mike when he began to tell me about the cat. And I knew he was giving it all he could to convince me that the cat needed to stay with the two doggies…I finally said, “OH FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! Tell the sister we’ll take the cat already!!”

So when I came home from work on Thursday the cat (named Squeak cause he doesn’t have a meow) had officially moved into our home and was now our new kitty-cat. He’s a big boy with orange and white stripes and a very long, straight tail. He walks around with his tail standing straight up and then tumbles down onto the carpet for a few rolls. Mike said he hid under the bed most of Thursday, but by evening he was cruising around.

So that’s the end of the story about the Changes in the 'Hood. Well, the “adoption” part anyway. I’m sure there will be many opportunities to write about our three new four-footed friends. Plus, I haven’t even met the Lhasa Apso yet or know his name!

Now where is my camera?...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Changes in the ‘Hood, Part II

“Our world is about to get rocked…” That’s what Mike said to me on Monday after he told me about our neighbor committing suicide. (See the previous post.)

First of all, Mike was able to tell me the neighbor’s name. And I felt better about at least knowing the guy’s name (I’ll keep that confidential in respect to the neighbor’s family). Secondly, Mike was also able to tell me the dog’s name. And I felt better about knowing the dog’s name, which is Rock. Not Rocky, not Roche (French for rock), but just plain Rock. Lastly, Mike told me exactly what was in the suicide note.

Mike knew exactly what was in the note because he met the neighbor’s family members on Monday. The neighbor’s sister read part of it to Mike: “Would you ask my neighbor in the building directly across from me – his name is Mike – if he would take care of Rock?”

HOLY COW! When we said good-bye to Sitka last July I never thought we would have another dog. But how in the world could Mike deny our neighbor’s request? Well, of course he couldn't and I couldn’t either. So guess who moved in with us?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Changes in the ‘Hood, Part I

For close to a year we have lived in Kenmore. We live on a dead-end street with a large apartment building on the other side of the fence in our back yard. All last summer Mike and I talked to a neighbor on the other side of the fence when he was walking his dog. He’d always stop at our fence so his dog could sniff at Sitka.

Because of the height of the fence I could never see the neighbor’s face – or the dog’s for that matter. It was like that TV show with Tim Allen talking to his neighbor over the fence, but you never got to see the neighbor’s face. Yeah, just like that.

Over time, Mike had more conversations with this neighbor and his dog. And recently the man asked if Mike could take care of his dog for a week while he went out of town. Mike agreed and last weekend we were ready to have a dog in the house again.

But something went terribly awry. We were expecting the neighbor on Saturday and we waited and waited. By Sunday afternoon we still had not seen the neighbor. We presumed that he must have had a change in plans. We were not prepared to learn what actually happened.

For reasons unknown to us, the neighbor unexpectedly committed suicide in the early hours of Monday morning. We saw the fire trucks and first responders, but had no idea what was going on in the apartment building on the other side of the fence in our back yard during the middle of the night.

It was late morning when Mike called me at work to tell me what had happened. I was truly shocked. But even more overwhelming than the shock was the guilt.

Guilt because this neighbor on the other side of the fence had a name, but I hadn’t bothered to ask what it was. Guilt because this neighbor on the other side of the fence asked a favor and I didn’t go over and knock on his door when he didn’t show up on Saturday – or Sunday. Guilt because this neighbor on the other side of the fence must have been in such a bad space that he took his own life, yet I wasn’t even aware that he was troubled.

After Mike told me about the suicide, he told me about the note. The note that mentioned Mike. Yes, my Mike. And as Mike explained it to me over the phone, “Our world is about to get rocked…”

Monday, March 14, 2011

Seeds, Seeds, Seeds!

Saturday’s pancake breakfast fundraiser for the Alderwood Manor Heritage Association was a great success – and the food was good too!

Here are Cheryl and Kevin – doesn’t Cheryl look like a restaurant manager??

We saw a few friends and relatives also enjoying their pancake breakfast…here is Cheryl and Kevin’s mom, Marlene, and their dad, Karl. Thanks to everyone who supported the fundraiser. I understand there is a chicken dinner in the fall - I’ll have to get more info about that event…

After our breakfast Mike and I did some shopping. We’ve been thinking about our garden and what to plant this year. We’re going to get a jump-start on it and get our soil in shape before planting. I have so many ideas in my head about the garden even though I know Mike will be the master gardener this year since I’ll be at work.

These are the seeds I bought yesterday - except the Oregon wildflowers that were a gift from Cheryl. Now I have to think of where to plant them all.

One thing we are going to do is to supplement the soil with Starbucks coffee grounds. The Starbucks closest to us saves the spent grounds for gardeners and we’re hoping we can get in on that. If anyone has any hints about how coffee grounds have helped in your garden, let us know!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Alderwood Heritage Hosts Pancake Breakfast Saturday March 12th

The Alderwood Manor Heritage Association invites you to their first ever Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser, Saturday March 12, 2011 from 8 - 10 am. THAT'S TOMORROW!

The breakfast is to be held at Applebee's Restaurant on 4626 196th SW in Lynnwood, Washington.

Breakfast includes pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, milk, juice and coffee. Servers will be volunteers from the Association and all tips they receive will do donated as well. To purchase tickets contact Kevin Stadler or 206.660.7080. (It's only $10!)

Yep, that' my friend Kevin that you have read about right here...both Kevin and his sister Cheryl (see last post) are very involved with the Alderwood Manor Heritage Association. Mike and I will be going to the fundraiser and having a great breakfast. And hey, maybe Kevin will be our server!

Help support the Association and go have breakfast at Applebees in Lynnwood!