Sympathy Card

Last night I finally screwed up the courage to write a sympathy card to friends who recently lost their dog. I hate writing that sort of card but it wasn’t just any dog. Luka was a Clumber spaniel and a very special friend of mine. I showed Luka when he was a puppy, and helped find him a new home when his first owners divorced. If I have done nothing else right in my life, I found the right home for Luka.

A few years ago Luka had hemangiosarcoma. His owners did the surgery, despite their vet saying the cancer would be back in 2-3 months. Luka lived another three years in good health. The cancer didn’t come back!

Clumbers like Luka are why I volunteer time and donate money to the Clumber Spaniel Health Foundation. I will miss the little Fluffa. I hope the card is a comfort to Luka’s owners.

[Card is from Positively Green, purchased at G Squared Gallery.]

New Year, New Project

Friends…I’m back. At least I think I’m back. I was able to log in, something I was not at all sure I would be able to do, so I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.

I decided this lengthy hiatus should end with a new project. A new 365-type project. Insanity abounds, I tell you. Not really. Much. My friends who are stationery aficionados will understand the stash of cards I have amassed. Letterpress, postcards, traditional and not….I’m running out of places to put them. It’s time to put those suckers in the mail.

Most of the time I’ll be (at least) a day behind. You’ll get over that, yes?

There you have it, Card a Day card number one, written last night and mailed this morning to my dear friend JT. She had a shitty 2012 and will be a frequent recipient of cards this year. [Sorry! I'll make it up to you by bringing wine to Knoxville!]

I think this is going to be fun. You?

[Card from Blue Barn House]

Blame It On Tito


When last I darkened this blog’s door the baseball playoffs were getting underway, and the Red Sox were not among those still in the hunt. The baseball season is over when the Red Sox are done, at least for me. (Someday I hope to say “when the Red Sox and Pirates are done” but for the Pirates that’s usually in July and I like baseball too much to give it up that early.) Worse, the Red Sox had just fired Terry Francona, a man I admired from afar primarily for his ability to wrangle the egos, many of whom could be pictured in the dictionary next to the word “epic,” and put a winning team on the field. I knew it was time for Tito to go but I still didn’t like it.

Workouts for pitchers and catchers have now begun and what do you know? I’m back. In baseball and blogs, hope springs eternal and life begins again in February.

Michael McKenry

Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about. I look forward to seeing a whole lot more of that in the near future.

I’ve Been Holding Out On You

I’ve been a bad, bad blogger. Not only have I been ignoring my blog, I’ve been playing. With my puppy. For weeks now. And keeping him ALL.TO.MYSELF! I teased you back in August and then totally left you hanging. Not cool, I know. Or, in the words of one of my favorite local bloggers, “OK. This not posting stuff is bullshit.

Without further ado, I am pleased to introduce Clussexx Mashup, aka Hudson:

Hudson, on his first day with us, taken by Mr C

Isn’t he the cutest thing? We are utterly smitten and have been since the minute we set eyes on him. It was about six weeks ago, the day after we returned from a very long vacation in California that included Disneyland and San Diego, with BlogHer ‘11 thrown in at the end. Despite being completely exhausted, I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face for hours after I brought him home. He was a 5 month old, 40 pound, fluffy white ball of happiness with four legs and a tongue that’s three miles long. In other words? Perfection, right down to the kissing spot on the top of his head.

But like most puppies, he’s not really perfect. He’s a toddler who puts everything in his mouth. In this case, “everything” is my rugs, various pieces of furniture, and anything he can reach from the counters. The toddler analogy is a pretty good one. If our eyes can’t be on him, he’s in his crate. A good schedule is absolutely essential. And though the kids are getting to an age where gates on the stairs aren’t necessary anymore, we are keeping our gates because of the dogs.

It has been 10 years since we last had a puppy. This means we have forgotten a lot. The elderly dogs we have been living with have made us lazy and complacent. They haven’t destroyed toys or furniture in a long time. A puppy has jolted us right back to reality and we are learning a lot of lessons, mostly the hard way.

The casualties so far:

  • end table with a chunk removed
  • entryway bench with a chunk removed
  • cupboard with a chunk removed (sensing a trend?)
  • dining room table legs now with teethmarks
  • dining room rug with a frayed corner from being chewed
  • living room rug with a frayed corner
  • entryway rug with a frayed corner (yes, that’s another trend you’ve noticed. good job! have a cookie.)
  • dog blankets with frayed edges

On the upside, we are getting a bit more tidy. We have had to re-arrange all shoe and boot storage in the house, now relocated to a closet. We are all getting far more diligent about hanging up our coats. The kids hang their backpacks and take the things they care about up to their rooms a little more often than before Hudson joined us. They are also getting better about closing the gates so Hudson doesn’t wander up to their bedrooms or down to the basement playroom. I have already had nightmares that included Legos being surgically removed. Let’s hope those never come true!

You’ll be hearing and seeing more Hudson around here. In addition to keeping us on our toes at home, he’s been busy in the show ring too. Watch for a link that will make it easy to keep up with all things Hudson. I hope you’ll join us on what is sure to be the wildest ride in the kingdom.

Weight Wait

weight loss so farIt’s time for a progress report on my weight loss. The good news is I have lost 27 of the 52 pounds Weight Watchers says I need to lose. The bad news is I don’t feel like I look better. I don’t even feel thinner. My clothes are telling a different story, of course, but my head is not buying it at all. I even ordered shorts a few weeks ago in my original size, my brain insisting that J. Crew runs small. Let’s just say I don’t need to unbutton or unzip them in the bathroom.

I know I am healthier. Getting winded on a flight of stairs is a thing of the past. Running is something I can now do and even enjoy (a little bit). At home I was running about three quarters of a mile and walking the last quarter. When we were on vacation I decided to see what I could really do. What I discovered is I can run a mile and a quarter without stopping. I don’t run fast, but damn it, I can run.

The twenty-five extraneous pounds that remain are not insignificant but I’m starting to wonder how I will feel when I finally reach my goal weight. Will I still think I’m fat? Forty plus years of poor body image are looking like a tough addiction to break free of. While there is no real “high”, I know I have used my weight as a comfortable crutch. For all the pressures being fat puts on a body, I used it to let myself off the hook about any number of things. Swimsuits, for example. I haven’t owned one since 1992.

Health is the reason I will soldier on to my goal weight and why I will work like hell to stay there. (Okay, health driven by a desire to see grandchildren because I am not living through this difficult period with my kids without a ginormous reward at the end.) Maybe by then my brain will get with the program too.

Over There

I’m over at Draft Day Suit. Talking baseball, bad calls, and hashtags.

Go take a look.

Coming Soon, A New Addition


Photo by Orsorama, via Creative Commons license

No, oh HELL no, I’m not pregnant. Remember? But we are going to have a new family member in a few weeks. I plan to tease you a bit before then. Make that a lot. Mercilessly. I wanted to go get him as soon as our foster dog went to his forever home but we have a little vacation-slash-BlogHer thing happening soon. It seemed like the smarter option to wait a bit.

I have toyed with the idea of writing more about the dogs in my life. We hope this one will generate some great blog fodder, and also give me a chance to show how a dog can be a family pet and a show dog (see what I mean? teaser!!). Maybe a few other things too. Tracking and therapy are high on my list.

So keep an eye out for more about the new addition. I might even put a brand new tab with his name on this here blog.

What do you think? Anyone interested in the adventures of a new canine joining casa de ClumberKim?

I Forget


Photo by Bart Busschots, licensed under Creative Commons

My brain’s sieve-like tendencies are not improving with age. Shocking, no? I’ve always been easily distracted in an, “Oh look! Something shiny!!!” sort of way, but this is new. Here’s a sampling of things I have forgotten recently:

  • My blog turned 6 last month. I thought about it the week before, sort of planned a post, and then forgot it entirely until today.
  • Food. I don’t forget to eat (oh NO!) but I forget what food we need once I get to the store. If I make a paper list I invariably leave it at home so all lists are now digital. I’m using TeuxDeux. I have a feeling that might change soon though. Hmmm. (Or should I saw RAWR?)
  • My eBay password. It took almost a week, and two tech support calls to get it reset. What a display of incompetence on the part of the customer (dis)service rep on the first call, and kudos to the one I got today who solved the problem quickly and efficiently. In total, that’s about three hours of my life I’m never going to get back.
  • While driving, I go on auto-pilot, forgetting the best routes to a variety of places. I just drive, and later realize I’m not going where I thought I was going. Whoopsie!
  • Finally, four hours ago I walked to my pantry cabinet, opened the door, and stared inside. I had no idea why I was there. About a minute later I remembered I needed an onion.

I’m sure the list is longer but I forgot a few of the other bullets I had in mind once I started writing this post. Fortunately I haven’t forgotten a kid or a dog or a husband, but it’s probably just a matter of time. I can remember the most ridiculous and useless bits of trivia. (Birthplace of Boston Bruins right wing Ken Hodge? Birmingham, England; His number? 8)

Let’s Go Bucs

After 18 consecutive losing seasons, the formerly hapless Pittsburgh Pirates are heading into the All-Star break four games over .500 and exactly ONE game out of the division lead. The TV commentators were speculating this afternoon about a possible run for the division during the second half of the season, or at least the wildcard. Just getting to .500 used to be the elusive dream and now we’re talking playoffs!

The statistics are staggering for this 2011 edition of the Buccos.

Last year, win #45 came on September 3. This year? July 6. They matched last year’s road win total (17) on June 1.

The last time they sent three players to the All-Star game? 1990.

Closer Joel Hanrahan gives a whole new meaning to HammerTime. He’s 26 for 26 in save opportunities this season. Only one reliever in the majors, Craig Kimbrel, has more saves and he’s only got one more than Hanrahan.

Despite a high number of injuries, resulting in a roster heavy with rookies, the team is playing better than it has in years. Both starting catchers went down the same week, and the top minor-league prospect was also injured. The team went shopping and snagged the Red Sox AAA catcher, Mike McKenry. Make that “Fort McKenry.” He’s a wall behind the plate, and finally got the bat going on Friday night with his first major league home run, a game winner.  (Someone really needs to get on making a Fort McKenry shirt. I’ll be first in line to buy one.)

I’m not even afraid to buy a shirt with a player’s name and number on it. Just a couple of years ago the Pirates were sure to sell or trade their best players, usually the guy on the shirt I just bought. Eleanor is still sporting a Freddie Sanchez shirt.

Most of all, and if you’ve ever seen Bull Durham or Major League you know what I’m talking about, the players and coaches are having an absolute blast. Anyone who saw the Pirates’ dugout under John Russell’s leadership saw a team having

I’m gushing, I know, but these Pirates are totally gush-worthy. I’m wishing I could be at the ballpark every night. (It’s always been a really beautiful park, even when the team sucked.) The city is responding and sell-outs are regular happenings, rather than noteworthy events.

Raise the jolly roger, dammit. LET’S GO BUCS!

If you’re thinking about catching a little bit of the magic in person, follow this link and use the code “clumberkim” for ticket discounts.

[Disclaimer: The Pirates are kicking me a tiny commission on tickets sold with my code. Really tiny. I'm in it for the chance to win a piece of signed memorabilia for Oliver.]

One Door Closes

Time for Dudley the foster dog to see the world. We are waiti... on TwitpicDudley, our foster dog, is moving on tomorrow. He’s going to what we expect will be his forever home in New Jersey. Some great folks have stepped up to drive parts of his journey and if all goes well, he will be in his new home before dinner.

He has been with us just a few weeks but Mr C and I are going to miss him as if he’d been here for years. The kids find him slightly annoying, probably because they are used to geriatric Clumbers, not wild four year old Clumbers who want to play, play, and play some more.

I’m going to miss our power walks and some of his velcro-like tendencies, though going to the bathroom by myself and taking a shower without a spectator will be nice.

We failed fostering once with Bubba, who stayed 3 years, and could have easily failed again with Dudley. I’m hopeful our next dog is out there. I’m ready for a puppy. We haven’t had one of those since Piper joined us in 2001.

I hope it’s true that when one door closes another one opens, especially if a Clumber puppy comes through that open door.