Thursday, March 31, 2011

What Happens When I Ask Her to Look Sexy

OK Mabel...Look Sexy!
Va va VOOM!

The missing final shot would be her stretching out those arms and...knocking the camera out of my hands! BRAT!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Black & Tan Meetup - Wordless Wednesday Series

What happens when a rottie mix goes hiking with dogs: her rottweiler and doberman buddies? There's a lot of this:

Note: Chloe the dobie has issues with her tail...she was picked on a lot as a pup! She sits when it's her turn to be sniffed. To be continued....

Friday, March 25, 2011

Dangerous Dunk

I had a horrible accident with Mabel on Thursday. I took her to my physical therapy because the arroyo that we love is nearby. I thought it would be a nice midday break to go to the doc and have a nice hike.

Except, it's been really raining a lot here. Lots of visible snow in our mountains too! Mabel was so happy to be there, she leaped out of the car and dashed off into the woods! I caught up with her and started shooting some pics with my new camera that I'm trying desperately to learn how to use.

We took one of our favorite trails and quickly found the road washed out. I was sort of amazed and shooting some photos of the flood as Mabel just mucked about trying to figure out why the water was there. Note that the road is a good foot above the stream bed behind Mabel.

Mabel stepped into the shallow water...we could see the bottom here. Mabel is always very cautious around fast moving water. I've only had one incident with her as a puppy. I assumed she would sniff the shallow water a bit and we would choose another trail. 

At that moment, I decided to put my lens cap on and look for a long stick to see how deep the water was. I looked down for a second and heard frantic splashing! I screamed in horror to see Mabel Lou going under and being washed down the stream! And just as fast, she found a foothold on the far shore. Her front was on land...but she struggled and struggled for what felt like eternity to get her hind footing. 

Feeling utterly helpless, I took the lens cap off and started documenting her struggle as I knew she would make it. 

As she fought to get her hind legs under her, I kept yelling encouragement...something I've always done whenever she was unsure or fearful. "YOU CAN DO IT BABY! KEEP GOING...YOU'LL GET THERE!!" She kept trying and finally made it onshore for a good shake.

She let out a loud cry as she surveyed the whole four foot chasm between the island I was now on and where she was. 

There is nothing I hate worse than to hear my baby cry. She whimpered as she looked around. She came to the edge sizing up that water as I shouted, "NO! NO!" Knowing that she had figured this out on her own before, I decided she must need a little Mama help this time. 

Just to my left, the stream was much slower but it was maybe 20 feet wide instead of four. There was lots of underbrush...which meant two different things to me. Either it would give her safety to climb or the water could pin her against them and suck her under.  

I frantically started shouting and pointed about 30 feet in where the water was wider still and super calm. "Go! Go!! Go up there! There, Girl! GO! She cried some more but took off into the brush. I held my breath as I realize she didn't go as far in as I wanted her to. But she was coming to me!
The brush was so thick...I had to point her out!  She continued to cry the whole time she was working her way back to me. I was so happy when I could finally see her!

Still crying, I could see she was shaking too! She wanted to get to me as bad as I wanted to get to her! 

I kept yelling encouragement and telling her how good she was. And she kept whining and plodding closer.

Finally, I could grab my girl. Check out her nose! And the fur on her head is soaked. 

She let me hold her and she cried and complained. I headed in the direction of the car for towels and blankets. And what did our heroine do? Was she ready for home and a long nap? Noooo! She took off chasing a rabbit. We had just arrived after all! She kept me running around after her for a good hour and a half! 

Reflections in the Rain

Mabel Lou wants to wish her Granny a Happy 88th Birthday today!!!

Check out the rain drops in these pics... can you see them?

Jamming on my taxes!!! See ya'll real soon!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Worst GABE Pawticipant EVER!

So, I'm finally done with the piece I gave away during GABE!... A YEAR AGO! Holy Carp Batman! I bet I'm banned this year!

I've been a bundle of excuses in finishing this piece... but it's been a traumatic year OK? I guess I shouldn't have done such an elaborate piece but... I had NO IDEA it would take this long!

I wanted to offer something different on this site and I was honestly thinking I would add these custom photo pieces to my fused glass line. But let's just take a look at what took me so long:

  • The first one isn't all my winner took a few months to get me a photo.
  • By May, my computer had died! My old laptop did not have enough memory to deal with the big files I had. 
  • By the time I could afford a new big beastie, I was getting ready for a bead show and my kiln couldn't spare the 15 hours it would take to make this piece. 
  • I got the photos sized and was all ready to print them on the decal paper...when another nightmare started. I was told to look for a type of printer...I called every print shop in town. I searched high and low every spare moment for weeks! I finally gave up and called the manufacturer. They told me it was a DESKTOP PRINTER!!! OMD! 
  • It took me another month to find someone with the right  printer. I got them printed and fused onto the glass lickety split.
  • I wrote the winner just before Christmas to ask her favorite color and verify her address. I fused the photo piece to a blue background... We're moving NOW! 
  • And since Christmas, I've spent every spare minute looking for my bails! I've cleaned out the shop, all my jewelry tools, my teaching supplies... the bails were nowhere. 
  • And I got a job... Another five weeks gone.
  • My job ended and I was teaching fusing... I HAD TO HAVE BAILS! I searched and searched and realized all my files from fusing were gone. I think they were all stolen. Another $126 bucks to replace the bails and more for the files just in time for class. But...the happy accident part of this: I got some sterling PUPPY PAW bails! (Forgot to take a pic of the back! But I found one on Amazon... see ad below!)
Anyway, my little package is finally leaving for the Philippines tomorrow....Barring that I don't have a massive envelope disaster or tape shortage or lose my way to the post office! Geez...what a loser! 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Causing a Commotion - Wordless Wednesday

A story in pictures, starring Bart!

Here he comes:

And there he goes:

Bart (a/k/a) just LOVES to create a ruckus with the poor dogs that live where we park. They never get to go hiking with dogs! He does this EVERY DAY! 

He barks and he jumps:

Until we fuss at him: "Huh, wha? Not me?"

"Let's GO!"

Sunday, March 20, 2011

I Knew It Was Coming; I Just Didn't Know When

I found myself exclaiming that phrase, out loud, in frustration, as I raced through the pouring rain Friday night. I knew the storm was coming; just not the details. I went from a dead sleep to sitting bolt upright in bed at 1:30 a.m. to dashing into the storm to secure stuff that should not be outside in the rain: the food color for the shop, the new tools, the new shipping boxes from the post office.

California is typically very dry, even at night when some places are moist. I often stage items going into the studio or the house until there is room. And this rain caught me off guard. As I tossed the last of the shipping boxes into the safety of the shop and really heard myself utter that phrase, I froze in my tracks.

Unaware of the cold rain, I started thinking about how so often we are caught off guard by the obvious and inevitable. We live our lives, knowing that the cheeseburger doesn't help the cholesterol and seem offended when the heart attack knocks on the door. We know our bad diets and lack of exercise aren't good for us and still we are shocked when illness finds us.

Do we live our lives in denial? Maybe. But more likely, I think we know that all that effort and hard work will never stave off the inevitable. Life is only temporary.

My sister is facing a tremendous battle - again. It will be her third. She told me years ago that she knew that cancer would take her life. I shuddered upon hearing her words. Is it a gift or a burden to know the thing that will kill you?

I don't know questions were asked upon this diagnosis. It's hard to plan for battle when you don't know much about your enemy. I just know that my little family... it's been the four of us for my whole life... is in for another fight. We have our jobs: to feed her and love her, provide for her comfort, get her to appointments, provide her with laughs. But, we are simply willing Lieutenants to her General. It is her battle to win.

I knew this storm was coming. I just wish it were a few more decades down the road.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Still Sleeping with a Killer

It happened AGAIN yesterday. Mabel killed again. We were at the creek, midday - between doctor visits for me.

Mabel had been on alert. The ground squirrels were running and squealing all the way from the car into Dirty Creek. We've had a number of trees fall over the winter and then the floods washed out a lot of the ground around the trees. I have to hop over branches while watching where I step to avoid holes and stay on the trail.

I was mid hop when I heard screaming to my left. In the water, a mere 10 feet away, was a ground squirrel  - which looked a lot like a rat - running straight for me. Mabel was hot on his heels. I squealed and dance -hopped further downstream and turned around to see where they went.

Mabel - I kid you not - was doing a headstand!!! For like 10 seconds!!! I counted! The squirrel had headed under the branches of a fallen tree. With limbs everywhere and nowhere to really stand, Mabel was on her front paws and digging for the squirrel with her nose while kicking her hind legs in the air to stay upside down!!! She finally came down and bounced a bit to gain a foothold. And within seconds, she had the squirrel in her jaws.

I ran to them screaming at Mabel. "NO NO NO NO NO DROP IT NO!"

And then I heard bones crunching. Only then did she drop it. She picked it up and crunched some more.

Mabel dropped him again and ...pranced around all proud of herself. She bowed up and went looking for more!

And this is what bugs me about the killer I share my bed with. I can't pretend her killing is just a goofy dog who doesn't know her own strength...which is what I've told myself about incident #1. Nor can I say she does it for food.

'tila Boy, our hiking buddy, killed his first rabbit a few weeks ago. He ate every last bit including big ears and fuzzy wuzzy tail!  That, I can forgive. But not Mabel. She left it there as if to warn the other ground squirrels: Mabel Lou was here!

That was just the beginning of a brutal day for me.  I got some earth shattering news...bad, bad news. And nothing I want to share here yet. I finally crawled in bed exhausted at 1 am this morning and Mabel was being her usual bed hog self. I asked her to move several times and she refused. Finally I got out of bed to spin her around to her side and she snarled at me - certainly still feeling her oats. And I snarled right back! It takes a certain top dog mentality to live with a rottweiler. They test you.

I know she's "just being a dog" but it's hard to reconcile the creature I've seen kill two helpless animals with the one who cries and curls in my lap when she has a tummy ache.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Oh my! I just can't get my girl out of the kissing booths! Mabel and I are both big time suckas for pups in need and Richie and Ronnii had some ginormous vet bills. They are having a big auction, a bake sale and... a KISSING BOOTH!

One of Mabel's favorite activities is kissing. I fear if a bad guy broke in, she would surely kiss him to death!

Kisses are only a dollar over there! Mabel was so happy to kiss Mr. Levi Mac! He's just so cute...We've been in love with him for  a long time!

We went looking around for Dexter a/k/a PeeWee but... alas, we couldn't find him. But, his big bro Mango was, so naturally, we had kiss him! We found out later that little bro has Lyme Disease and is feeling sickie but we sure are glad Mango was there!  (And we wish Dex a speedy recovery!)

Mabel got mad at me because I also was hoping to see Asa, Bookerman's sweet sis. I have a weak spot for her beautiful eyes! But Miss Piss said she only wanted to kiss the boys. Weird...she's always kissing her girlfriends at the creek! She and Sue practically make out!  So we scrolled back up to the boy's section and kissed Booker. Doesn't he look happy???

Finally, we had to zip over and kiss our real life friends: Gizmo and Bart. We give them lots of kisses in the creek but couldn't resist our friends in the kissing booth. It's for a good cause and they are just so cute. Their mom posted a picture of them as puppies this week. They are super handsome men now but oooh, who can resist these puppy mugs???

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Wordy Wednesday - Recent Snow

It seems funny posting these on a day where the windows are thrown open and a gentle breeze is blowing but these are from our recent snows. This winter has yielded the most snowfall I've seen since Spring 2001.
The creek looked and felt downright icy.

Mt. Lukens kept splashes of snow on it my first winter here. It was nice to see some white up there again.

This mountain, deep in the Angeles National Forest - but visible from my driveway, always seems to get the most. I found myself dashing into my front yard about to confront someone I thought was photographing my house, when I remembered this mountain. (Go ahead, say it with me: "Dork!")

And finally, the southern face of our valley's northern mountains NEVER have snow... but they did this year.

Regarding Mabel's most recent post: I know some of you realized what a Diva Dog I have (and see how well trained I am!) and understand the guilt I feel at leaving her for my crazy commercial job.  I did get a few emails from people who thought I was giving Mabel away!!!! As if! The point of the joke was... she's getting rid of ME. But then if you have the explain the's not really funny, now is it?

My job is over and today, I'm home recouping from the long hours of work and commuting and doing lots of cuddling to ingratiate myself with the princess. Still worried about my next source of income but happy to have a few days where nothing matters but me and the dog!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Seeking Applicants

Mabel Lou here.  My mom keeps promising that her being gone so much is "almost" over. I'm not taking any chances.

Position: Full time care giver.


  • MUST. LOVE. DOGS. Namely, ME.
  • Should be able to cope with a submissive pee -er.  A little piddle on the floor or your shoes is no big deal. 
  • Needs to grasp the concept of rituals: 1)Meal time consists of heating my water, pouring kibble in my bowl, placing EXACTLY three pieces of kibble each on three of my beds, adding in meds and canned food and mixing it to "Mabel Lou stew" consistency. 2) Bedtime consists of reminding me to go potty (some humans are amazed that I can do on request!) and placing EXACTLY three pieces of jerky in the following order: One at the beginning of the hall and two on the bed. 
  • Speaking of bedtime, you are allowed to share my bed. Your share of the queen sized bed is approximately one foot by six feet. Sometimes less. Should you deem we require a king sized bed, your width would be the same but I can understand and adapt to your length needs.
  • Must NEED to hike as much as I do. My current caregiver thinks this is once a day but it's actually about seven times a day. Applicant should be adept at encountering all kinds of wild animals: coyotes, raccoons, possums, rattlesnakes, non-poisonous snakes, lizards, hawks, ducks, rats, mountain lions, bears, cranes, smaller birds, fox... etc.  Applicant should also be able to handle a canine with an insane prey drive around cats.
  • Applicant should remain calm when among packs of dogs. My friends and I enjoy a meet up at the creek and we play rough. Applicant should understand my body language for when "enough is enough" and be comfortable extracting me from too much frolic. 
  • Must have the ability to earn green papers while working from home. ABSOLUTELY NO LEAVING ME ALONE FOR LONG HOURS IN THE NAME OF GREEN PAPERS. SERIOUSLY, THIS IS THE DEAL BREAKER! I require companionship DAILY!
  • Understand when I need to see the vet. Even if I don't want to go.
  • If you are unable to perform any of your duties at any time, you must replace yourself for ALL duties.
  • Must have the ability to cope with a dog that has a flair for the dramatic.
  • The love of the most amazing canine - ME!
  • You must have the ability to earn your own green papers to take care of us.
I don't think this is a very demanding list but let's just see. Who knows? I may find a better mom!