Me and My Aero: For the Love of a Dog

Aero at 2 months old

Shadow of the dog walker

In the shadow of the 2017 Westminster Dog Show and Valentine’s Day…

We’re talking about dogs and love today! Rumor, the German Shepherd, won the coveted “Best in Show” title.

If you have followed my blog within the last few months, you probably have seen pics of my dog, Aero. In honor of two blog features, the WordPress weekly photo challenge, Shadow and 51 Weeks; 51 Songs by Hugh’s Views and News,  I submit some photos of “me and my Aero.”

Oh, hey, isn’t that a song? Here is the YouTube clip as arranged by Harry Nillson from the animated short film, The Point. Check that out here.

 

“Me and my arrow
Straighter than narrow;
Wherever we go, everyone knows
It’s me and my arrow.
Me and my arrow
Taking the high road;
Wherever we go, everyone knows
It’s me and my arrow”

Me and My Arrow song and lyrics by Harry Nilsson from “The Point” peaked at number 34 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1971. Did you ever see the movie? I still hear the song played occasionally.

If you haven’t guessed, Aero, a six year-old Boykin Spaniel/poodle mix, is my pride and joy. We go for walks nearly every day. I get some great blog post ideas on these walks. Speaking of shadows, Aero now has his own shadow.

But first, the back story.

Aero has several brothers that look nothing like him. When my daughter moved out and took Gideon with her, Aero was alone. Well, he has me and his “daddy,” but we talked about getting another dog.

Chappy, Boykin Spaniel
Beloved Chappy. Used with permission

Scrolling through the WordPress Reader, I saw a photo (on the left) of a puppy that looked just like Aero. As I clicked on the link I was astounded by what I saw…the spitting image of my Aero-perro! Joan at her blog MV Obsession posted a memorial to her grand-dog Chappy. As I tearfully read through Joan’s beautiful tribute and looked at the gorgeous photos, I knew instinctively that Aero was descended from this noble breed of water-fowl retrievers, known as Boykin Spaniels. You can see why Chappy became the inspiration for my puppy love. Better get some tissues!

Once I discovered that Aero was part Boykin Spaniel, not Cocker as I originally thought, I wanted to know more about this breed. Joan’s post has a link to the Boykin Spaniel Society at the top of her post, but you can check that out here.

 

Following this, I was just amazed that I had never heard of this breed of dog. Boykins were bred in the early 1900s as retrievers for duck and wild turkey hunters. Although Boykins can weigh up to 40 pounds, they are shorter, stockier dogs, perfect for fitting into a small boat. Boykin Spaniels are the South Carolina state dog, and are seen in the Southern part of the U.S.

Aero at 2 months old

Aero’s chocolate brown coat prompted people to ask “What kind of dog is that?” We naively answered Cocker Spaniel mixed with terrier and poodle. Cockerterapoo? Or “Oh, he looks like a miniature Irish Setter, or Portuguese Water Dog.”

I don’t know why I got so emotional over discovering other dogs that look like Aero. I guess I love my Aero so much, I wanted to know his ancestry.

When I showed my hubby the picture of Chappy, and the Boykin Spaniel website, he was as amazed as I was and he somehow found a facebook page of a Boykin Spaniel breeder in California…the ONLY one. Luckily for us the breeder is in Northern California near Mt Shasta. Then more luck, the breeder had just whelped a litter of pups in December. We contacted her and asked several questions. Only two were left. Within two days, we made an offer and got our Boykin Spaniel.

Meet Brodie. Hubby thinks he looks like the night fury dragon, Toothless, from the movie, “How To Train Your Dragon.” Brodie means “muddy paws” in the Irish/Gaelic language. His official kennel name is CR Shasta Chases the Wind. He certainly chases everything now.

Brodie is Aero's new shadow

Aero will never be as large as pure-bred Boykins, only weighing in at a svelte 14 pounds. His “cousin” Brodie, at 9 weeks (at the time of this post) already weighs 12 pounds and is growing fast!

Stand Up Paddling with the poochBack to the Aero’s new shadow. Brodie loves Aero and they tumble around the house and backyard all day long. Raising a brand-new puppy isn’t easy, but the timing for our active lives was perfect. By the time we head to the Sacramento delta in April for our weekends of windsurfing and stand-up paddling, Brodie will have had all his shots and be 4 months old…ready to rumble! Or retrieve an unsuspecting duck!

We now belong to a couple of Boykin Spaniel Facebook pages and have made some friends. I never thought I would see so many “Aeros!”

All this “for the love of a dog.”

paw prints

 

Are you afflicted with Puppy Love? Was this year’s Valentine a dog? WOOF!

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“That’s What Christmas Is All About, Charlie Brown” Redux

That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown
That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown
Edited photo courtesy of my VHS cover.

In the spirit of the Christmas season, as families everywhere celebrate the holidays, I offer a re-post of one of my favorite and popular posts from 2015.


If we were having coffee on this fourth and final day of Advent, in which we celebrate love, we would sip a hot beverage while our church choir performs.advent candles for Christmas season

Traditionally the Advent candles are lit, one each Sunday, commemorating Hope, Peace, and Joy. Today the fourth candle, representing Love, is lit. In the middle of the candles is a fifth candle, called the Christ candle, which unites all the candles of Advent.


If we were having coffee, I would share with you my favorite Christmas-season TV show, A Charlie Brown Christmas. I grew up watching this and it is not Christmas for me if I miss this show. Thanks to DVDs and YouTube, I don’t. 2015 was the 50th anniversary of the beloved TV show.

Here is the heart of the story, and therefore, my message today.

Poor Charlie Brown suffers from depression and the rest of the gang is caught up in the commercialism of the season. In 1965, they embraced fake trees, materialism and distractions from the true meaning of Christmas. Nothing much has changed in 50 years, hmm?

During practice, as Charlie Brown endures derisive laughter over his sad little tree, a frustrated Charlie asks, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?

Linus begins to take center stage…”sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about…”

“…And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not: (Linus drops his security blanket on purpose) for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'” (Luke 2:8-14 KJV)

Linus picks up his blanket and walks back towards Charlie Brown, “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

Smiling, with renewed hope, Charlie picks up the tree and walks back to his house and attempts to place an ornament on the tree as he reflects on the scripture Linus recited. Sadly, the tree bends under the weight of the ball. Charlie dejectedly mopes away proclaiming, “Everything I touch gets ruined!”

Linus and the gang follow him and see the poor tree. As Linus picks up the tree, wrapping his blanket around the base, he says, “I never thought it was such a bad little tree. It’s not bad at all, really…

Wait for it…

…Maybe it just needs a little love.”

Like we ALL do. Just a little love.

Regardless of your beliefs, in a world desperately needing love, ponder these thoughts this holiday season. We all know the words to the song, “Oh Holy Night.” This is the truth of the final verse:

“Truly He taught us to love one another; His law is love and His gospel is peace.”


coffee cup celebrates weekend coffee shareThis is my last Weekend Coffee Share post of the year until January. Please stop by Part-Time Monster’s blog and enjoy a hot beverage with us.

Merry Christmas!

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The Doors to Knowledge Invite the Love of Reading

Doors to knowledge open here

Doors to knowledge open here

What is your “one love?” As a writer and educator, I have to admit that the love of books and reading is at the top of my list of loves.

The above photo shows a sculpture of a woman reading in the lobby of the Sacramento State University library. I was surprised that I had not noticed her before. That is what photography will do–provide a new perspective while searching for the perfect shot.

What I love about this is she is reading near the doors, as if she had just checked out her book and couldn’t wait to start reading.

“The doors to knowledge invite the love of reading.” -Terri Webster Schrandt

teach love of reading


These are submitted for the weekly photo challenge: One Love  and for Norm 2.0’s Thursday Doors.  Feel free to join these photo challenges any time.

Love Means Never Having to Buy Your Own Wet Suit

Wetsuit is the best gift ever. Celebrate leisure.

Nothing says “LOVE” more than the gift of leisure. My very first gift from my husband (back when he was my boyfriend) was this wet suit. He REALLY wanted me to learn how to windsurf.

Wetsuit is the best gift ever. Celebrate leisure.

Isn’t it cute and girlie? It even says “pure girl.” Read my post “Wet Suit Dreams” for the full story.

Hugh's weekly photo challengeLove is still in the air a few days after Valentine’s Day. I submit this photo for Hughes Weekly Photo Challenge: Week 13–Love. 

Speaking of love, join other bloggers for “Just Fooling Around with Bee’s Love is In Da Blog.

We Chose You!

I got a set of new adorbable nieces through Adoption
Adoption
Just Adopted!

If we were having coffee today on this lovely Valentine’s Day, I would ask you to sit down for a few moments while I tell you the true story of how love conquered fear and loneliness and expanded our family. I dusted this post off out of the archives for just this very moment.

LOVE.

Nothing says “love” more than a family who adopts a child, let alone two.

When my brother married his wife 13 years ago, my sister-in-law already had two children of her own from her previous marriage. As both my niece and nephew grew up, and the house emptied, my bro and sis-n-law talked about adoption, since she was unable to bear more children. As they navigated the foster care system, they came upon two sisters who were in foster care and needed a permanent family.

My bro and sis-n-law originally wanted a baby, but when they saw the girls featured on a television news story, they fell in love. After the usual red-tape and legal hassles, the girls became permanent members of the family.

Big deal, right? Another successful adoption. While adoption is the crux of this story, the real story is about the power of love under extraordinary circumstances.

We already knew that my bro and sis-n-law were amazing parents. Sis-n-law’s daughter “KV” was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder at a young age and was medically treated, but not before she ended up in special education in school. After years of care and consistency, and dealing with KV’s bi-polar father and his shenanigans, KV was taken out of special education just before high school. That is a rarity. I saw first-hand what it took for my bro and sis-n-law to meet those challenges with love and amazing patience.

When the little girls were first fostered with my bro and sis-n-law, they required counseling, medical treatment, and a boat-load of patience. The girls had lived incredibly horrible childhoods, the youngest one being too young to remember much. The oldest one recently underwent hip replacement surgery to correct the results of this early childhood neglect and abuse. The rest of our family looked on in awe as bro and sis-n-law dealt with the strain of parenting these little girls.

Mini me; my niece and I share a lot in common.I have loved watching my nieces grow up and enjoy normal, wonderful lives (camping trips to Yosemite, girl scouts, swimming lessons, summer camps). The oldest, AW, is now 12 years old, in middle school and LOVES to read. For someone not related by blood, she is kind of a mini-me (pictured). TW, at nine, is a girlie-girl, full of drama with a big imagination. They are deeply loved by all of us!

Bro and sis-n-law are in the process of fostering another little girl. They hope to eventually adopt her as well.

I have asked myself and others WHY would they want to keep going down this road? Do they not want peace? Bro is over 50 years old and never had children of his own. Bro is a wonderful uncle to my two daughters. Of course he wants children to call his own. And now he has them.

The gift of extraordinary parenting falls on very few people. The gift of love also fell heavily on my bro and sis-n-law and I stand in awe of them daily. If they can keep bestowing love on children who need it, then who am I to question God’s will?

I believe they find peace in knowing that they have literally saved lives, and for that, my heart overflows with love.

adoption is love


Please join fellow bloggers in February’s “Love is in Da Blog, hosted by “Just Fooling Around with Bee.” Share your stories, poems, and photos about love.

Winter Weekend Coffee ShareYou can also join us for coffee and tea at Part-Time Monster’s Weekend Coffee Share!

Weekend Coffee Share: That’s What Christmas is All About, Charlie Brown.”

Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2:14

If we were having coffee on this fourth and final Sunday of Advent, in which we celebrate love, we would sip a hot beverage while our choir performs.

Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2:14

Traditionally the Advent candles are lit, one each Sunday, commemorating Hope, Peace, and Joy. Today the fourth candle, representing Love, is lit. In the middle of the candles is a fifth candle, called the Christ candle, which unites all the candles of Advent.

My friend Janet Sunderland, on her blog Community of the Incarnation, sums up the Advent season so eloquently:

“Merry Christmas. And may the light of the Christ, renewed again, shine from your life to offer the peace that passes all understanding.”

If we were having coffee, I would remind you that this year is the 50th anniversary of the beloved TV show, A Charlie Brown Christmas. I grew up watching this TV show and it is not Christmas for me if I miss this show. Thanks to DVDs and YouTube, I don’t.

Here is the heart of the story, and therefore, my message today.

Poor Charlie Brown suffers depression and the rest of the gang is caught up in the commercialism of the season. In 1965, they embraced fake trees, materialism and distractions from the true meaning of Christmas. Nothing much has changed in 50 years, hmm?

During their Christmas play practice, as Charlie Brown endures derisive laughter over his sad little tree, a frustrated Charlie asks, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?

Linus Tell it Like it Is
image from Internet

Linus begins to take center stage… “sure Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about…”

“…And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not: (Linus drops his security blanket on purpose);

for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'” (Luke 2:8-14 KJV)

Linus picks up his blanket and walks back towards Charlie Brown, “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

With renewed hope, Charlie picks up the tree and walks back to his house and attempts to place an ornament on the tree as he reflects on the scripture Linus recited. Sadly, the tree bends under the weight of the ball. Charlie dejectedly mopes away proclaiming “Everything I touch gets ruined!”

Linus and the gang follow him and see the poor tree. As Linus picks up the tree, wrapping his blanket around the base, he says, “I never thought it was such a bad little tree. It’s not bad at all, really…

Wait for it…

…Maybe it just needs a little love.”

Like we ALL do. Just a little love.

Regardless of your beliefs, in a world desperately needing love, ponder these thoughts this holiday season.

We all know the words to “Oh Holy Night.” This is the truth of the final verse: “Truly He taught us to love one another; His law is love and His gospel is peace.”


 

This is my last Weekend Coffee Share post of the year until mid-January.

Please stop by Part-Time Monster’s blog and enjoy a hot beverage with us. You, too can be part of the gang!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Change

Change
Change
Original image by Kimberly Glaster

Change is the theme for the Weekly Photo Challenge.

Marriage makes you vulnerable and strong. It brings out the best and worst of you, and then it CHANGES YOU in ways you could never have expected…for the better. -Maggie Reyes

What better way to depict change than to share a photo of my husband and I showing a 34-year span. This was on our cake table at our wedding in 2013. We knew each other from high school in San Diego, then reconnected 31 years later in Northern California via Facebook.

Maybe our appearances haven’t changed too much…I’m told we still look the same. But I am forever changed by being his partner and the joy he brings me.

Facebook, Second Chances, and Love

Dancin'
Dancing at the Delta!

April 9th was the 6th year anniversary of our first date. Read more for the whole story!

After living in San Diego my whole life, I married young at age 20 to a young man who was from Northern California and ended up moving there. After 17 years we divorced and a few years later I got into another long-term relationship. Some men aren’t the marrying kind, especially in mid-life, so the relationship fizzled out since it was not going to become permanent. I was single again, now aged 48 and figured I was destined to be alone. I was interested in a couple of men but nothing happened.

At my 30-year high school reunion in San Diego, I thought I could meet someone who might be single…geez, I sound like a prowler (not cougar…). So yes, I met someone, but…naaaa! I had hoped to see a couple of men there but they did not attend the event.

Soon after the reunion, someone invited me to Facebook, so I joined, and connected with a large group of high school alumni. Fast forward a few months later, I noticed the photo of a particular man on Facebook who happened to be single (and amazingly still looking for his soul mate!). He was always someone I thought highly of in school (handsome, amazing athlete, you know…). He was still as handsome as ever and had posted pictures of himself windsurfing and was now living in Northern California.

Somehow between a friend request and a couple of e-mails back and forth, we started communicating. Every evening for a week, I would open Facebook hoping for another message, but alas, nothing for several days. So I did what any red-blooded, albeit slightly desperate woman would do, and I e-mailed him my phone number.

Right before Easter, my daughter, who lives in the San Francisco Bay area, had broken her arm, so I had to drive there to help her (she had to have surgery, etc). As I was driving, my phone rang and I saw a number I did not recognize. I answered and it was HIM!! His first question was “How are you,” and his second question was, “How is your daughter?”

Wow, handsome AND caring!! He had seen my post. So we yacked for 90 minutes as if we had just spoken the day before. We had not seen each other since our 20-year reunion in 1998. We obviously hit it off and he liked talking on the phone (unusual for most men). He had just gotten back into town and of course I was two hours away helping my daughter; oh the irony!

In between surgery and doctors’ visits with my daughter, we talked on the phone over a four-day period. We made a date for a few days later. Our first date was dinner at Olive Garden. When I drove in to the apartment complex where he was staying with his friend, and as I got out of the car and walked up to him, he put his big arms around me and flat-out just picked me up (I’m not a small gal—5’8’’). In person, his sparkly green eyes and incredible personality was enough to make me swoon (hmm, maybe I should write romance novels…)

Of course dinner went great and we went back to his friend’s place and chatted. They showed me these windsurfing movies and I could see how passionate they were about this sport. So (being a pretty good swimmer and water enthusiast), I looked him in the eye and said, “That looks like fun, maybe you can teach me how to windsurf.” I’m pretty sure it was his turn to swoon!

We're Married
Something he said was funny! Image edited by TWSchrandt

Four and a half years later, we tied the knot at a small church wedding and we are still newlyweds in our mid-50s. I told him just today that I smile every time I think to myself “I’m married and I have a husband.” I consider myself blessed and lucky and I thank God every day for bringing him into my life!

Happy FIRST DATE Anniversary to by wondeful husband and best friend!

Facebook, Second Chances, and Love

Dancin'
Dancin'
Dancing at the Delta!

For Valentine’s Day, I want to share this story that I guest posted on A Momma’s View .

After living in San Diego my whole life, I married young at age 20 to a young man who was from Northern California and ended up moving there. After 17 years we divorced and a few years later I got into another long-term relationship. Some men aren’t the marrying kind, especially in mid-life, so the relationship fizzled out since it was not going to become permanent. I was single again, now aged 48 and figured I was destined to be alone. I was interested in a couple of men but nothing happened.

At my 30-year high school reunion in San Diego, I thought I could meet someone who might be single…geez, I sound like a prowler (not cougar…). So yes, I met someone, but…naaaa! I had hoped to see a couple of men there but they did not attend the event.

Soon after the reunion, someone invited me to Facebook, so I joined, and connected with a large group of high school alumni. Fast forward a few months later, I noticed the photo of a particular man on Facebook who happened to be single (and amazingly still looking for his soul mate!). He was always someone I thought highly of in school (handsome, amazing athlete, you know…). He was still as handsome as ever and had posted pictures of himself windsurfing and was now living in Northern California.

Somehow between a friend request and a couple of e-mails back and forth, we started communicating. Every evening for a week, I would open Facebook hoping for another message, but alas, nothing for several days. So I did what any red-blooded, albeit slightly desperate woman would do, and I e-mailed him my phone number.

Right before Easter, my daughter, who lives in the San Francisco Bay area, had broken her arm, so I had to drive there to help her (she had to have surgery, etc). As I was driving, my phone rang and I saw a number I did not recognize. I answered and it was HIM!! His first question was “How are you,” and his second question was, “How is your daughter?”

Wow, handsome AND caring!! He had seen my post. So we yacked for 90 minutes as if we had just spoken the day before. We had not seen each other since our 20-year reunion in 1998. We obviously hit it off and he liked talking on the phone (unusual for most men). He had just gotten back into town and of course I was two hours away helping my daughter; oh the irony!

In between surgery and doctors’ visits with my daughter, we talked on the phone over a four-day period. We made a date for a few days later. Our first date was dinner at Olive Garden. When I drove in to the apartment complex where he was staying with his friend, and as I got out of the car and walked up to him, he put his big arms around me and flat-out just picked me up (I’m not a small gal—5’8’’). In person, his sparkly green eyes and incredible personality was enough to make me swoon (hmm, maybe I should write romance novels…)

Of course dinner went great and we went back to his friend’s place and chatted. They showed me these windsurfing movies and I could see how passionate they were about this sport. So (being a pretty good swimmer and water enthusiast), I looked him in the eye and said, “That looks like fun, maybe you can teach me how to windsurf.” I’m pretty sure it was his turn to swoon!

We're Married
Something he said was funny! Image edited by TWSchrandt

Four and a half years later, we tied the knot at a small church wedding and we are still newlyweds in our mid-50s. I told him just today that I smile every time I think to myself “I’m married and I have a husband.” I consider myself blessed and lucky and I thank God every day for bringing him into my life!

Happy Valentine’s Day!