Wednesday, August 30, 2006

California Dog Days of Summer

Here are some California poppies. Baking in the Summer sun. Today, spent much time baking like them on the Sta. Rita concrete patio. That patio's days are numbered. Going to be replaced with something else. Don't know yet. Much talk. The people assure me there will be lots of basking spots for me and even for visiting dogs like Pika. And nice chairs to cozy under to cool off on hot days or to be warm and safe on cool nights.
Why poppies? Yesterday, I got a new orange bandage for my split. Dr. Andy flexed my toe and said all is going good there. Some of the nurses there were very upset that day. One who took me to the back room for a new bandage had a tough time with a pet who did not do well. Deep sadness and very shaky. Red poppies for them. Waving in summer grasses.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Bridges and Tunnels

This is what I looked like when I got home from VSA. New bandage on repaired toe. Orange bandage for IV site. Purple bandage for morphine patch. Alice was allowed to take the orange one off immediately. Purple one taken off three days later after the nerves on the bone had a chance to heal up. Morphine is great for dulling pain, but it take away one's appetite.
Alice had to do some flying work away from home so two from of my extended human family took care of me. One slept with me holding me all night while I was still feeling not-so-hot. Made me special liver dinner treats. Took me out to the Sta. Rita front lawn to visit all the neighbor dogs who gently smelled my bandaged paw. Even Holly, the *very* active Corgi two doors down, became quiet and slow when she smelled my bandage.
Alice says this go-slow routine must last at least six weeks. She saw something over the weekend which reminded her of a bit of what I must go through. The long rail line in Carrizo Gorge. You can't see where it's going as it winds through tunnels and over bridges. But it always get somewhere.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Shshshshsh! (Picadou Guest-Blogging Here!)

Shshshsh! Pabu is resting, and healing up quick from his foot-in-door accident, we hear. In the meantime, I, Picadou Zapote Carstens, am guest-blogging. I am in Washington DC, where it is hot & muggy and so I don't really walk, I just amble along and then plop down, panting, in the grass. I wish there were really as many butterflies as there are in this portrait of me by Julie Feingold.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Andy Gives Me a $3,000 Toe!!

Tonight, Alice showed me the Xrays of my new toe. I stared and stared at them on her computer. I sat in her lap dead still as she explained how Dr. Andy Staatz put two small pins and a very small plate on the broken bone. She said that's why I must try not to jump up or down on furniture or up and down stairs for many weeks as the bone heals. But, oh, it's sooooo hard not to be able to go where one wants when one wants. Very frustrating. I know I should be very thankful. Without the surgery, my toe likely would have never healed right. Caused pain forever, gotten constantly infected, then amputed. I wonder what monks would have done in Tibet if this had happened to my great, great, great grandparents? In Tibet, they know a lot about bones and joints. Over the next couple of months, I'll be seeing more of Dr. Andy and perhaps also his very gentle "CCU" nurse, Jessica. They both know how to make me feel warm and very safe.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Drugged Up

This is where I am tonight. At "VSA" in San Mateo city in San Mateo County. Loaded up on morphine until at least 1 or 2 AM Wednesday morning. Dreaming of nursing my Mom with my sisters in Albuquerque, barking at cats, and of San Mateo, Santa Clara plus San Francisco -- that's Saints Matthew, Clare,and Francis to you non-NorCalifornians and Anglophiles. And, of liver dinners and roast chicken and my white blanket at Sta. Rita.....
VSA has quite the promotional brochures to get the humans in the right spirit. Lots of dog pictures. A few cats. And lots of quotes like this one from San Francisco de Assisi, "Not to hurt our humble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission -- to be of service to them wherever they require it." The staff at VSA takes that to heart.
I lucked out with Dr. Andrew Staatz. He knows what he is doing besides having a very calming effect on me by just holding me. He put two pins -- just the right size -- on the broken bone, found and fixed a torn distal ligament, and got me on the serious painkillers. Says I will have a splint for about 10 weeks. Off before Thanksgiving then!! Hmmmmmm...... turkey......roasting in the oven.......hmmmmm.
I should be off the heaviest drugs by the early morning and ready to go home to sleep more. Tongue heavy and hanging out. Good night. Dreaming and floating.....

Monday, August 21, 2006

Not a Great Day

Alice took me today to the vet to get a rabies shot. Once every three years. Not fun, but not a big problem. Until today.
There we were waiting to get the attention of staff to report "in" with the current "weight" when I noticed the vet's outside door was open. Another dog was going out and I ran for it. (Never have liked going to the vet. Not ever. That's the place where I lost my nuts!! As an innocent defenseless puppy, no less.) Couldn't get far because Alice had me on a short leash. She knows I've tried to run away from the vet's waiting room before. But I got at least 4 inches out the door when it closed on my left front paw. AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!
Nothing has ever hurt that much. Not shots, not tooth cleaning, not even the surgerys to remove a couple of benign cysts over the years.
Mocha, a dog in the waiting room with a former Palo Alto mayor, heard me, jumped in her lap and wouldn't stop trembling. Me, I was stunned.
And, must admit, embarassed. Alice always tells me I'll get "shumshed" if I keep trying to dash into dangerous places without looking BOTH WAYS first.
So, here I am. A total fracture of the third bone from one of my toenails. Snapped into two pieces with a dislocation. An early morning appointment tomorrow with an orthopedic vet. Maybe a pin or wire to fix it. Rats. More pills and other medications. And no more hour long walks for many weeks. Cross your paws for me to get through this. Thanks.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Alice put in a lawn for me when I moved in with her. It's an OK lawn. But lawns outside my yard are always better. Here I am on a lawn last week on Washington Street. It was perfect. Lush. Plush. Convenient to watch my family and all the street activity in safety. Pika liked this lawn, too. We both luxuriated in it. I guess I miss her. Sorta kinda.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Me as Sphinx

Here I am in front of the mausoleum for Jane, Leland Sr. and Leland Jr. Stanford. It's a very short walk from the Arizona Cactus Garden on the Stanford campus. It is a sad place without sunshine in the late afternoon. Walked up to the iron screen doors to see a very old wreath. Totally dead and brown. There's something to be said about my homeland's custom of sky burials....
Jane had a very tragic end. She was poisoned by strychnine. Murdered. By whom, we really still don't know. Stanford University does not like people to remember she was "bumped off" but some on campus try to make the best of it. Kate Adams, for one, has not forgotten. She even wrote a jazz musical of Jane Stanford's life and death, called "Just Jane". My person went to the premier of the musical and likes best the song about Jane looking over her letters from her husband before she puts them in a fire.
I suspect Jane was killed by David Starr Jordan who did not like her or according to his writings and speeches just about anyone from Asia - which I suppose would include me, too! So, I've that in common with Mrs. Stanford. And, her clear liking for smooth walking paths as in her cactus garden.

Monday, August 14, 2006

"Arizona" Garden

Alice looked for a link for the Stanford Cactus Garden and found out it is really called the "Arizona" Garden. Jane and Leland Stanford had it made in the early 1880's for a new house they never built. Instead, they spent their time and money on creating a university in memory of their only child who died too young.
The garden is a great place for dogs and people. There are nice paths, lots of things to smell, benches, plants that amaze the people like the boojum (left) here. Or, the one (right) that reminds Alice of my fluffy tail.You can see a picture of Alice with a boojum in a forest of boojums in Baja California here. That one looks dead but wasn't. It was just in its native place in the mountains above the Bay of Los Angeles where sometimes it does not rain for many years. (Yes, Alice knows about the snark who was a boojum.)

Cactus Garden

Here I am at Stanford University's Cactus Garden on Saturday. Note, Pika is not in the photo. She went to Aspen that morning. She travels a lot thanks to the fact she can fit in a Sherpa bag under an airliner seat. I could only do that as a puppy. Last time I flew commercial was to Baja with my first person and my current person. But Pika, she goes often between Washington D.C., Mexico City, a "spa" with a lawn and lots of other dogs in the Maryland countryside, and occassionally to other places like Philadelphia and new this year for her: Aspen.
Meanwhile, at home, I go to lots of places with my person mostly by car, sometimes by small plane. My favorites are places like this where there are a lot of dog smells and friendly dogs. I met at least four dogs here. I sniffed and got sniffed as their people talked about one's experience flying commercial the day the new no-liquids rule came into force. Lots of airliner delays then. The people need to relax more. They should take more naps like dogs do.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Joseph Grant Park

Yesterday, I went to Santa Clara County's Joseph Grant Park. The plan was to walk around there. Check out the lake, ponds and buildings and then maybe continue on up to Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton. However, we got a late start, Grant Park had temps over 90 degrees, and Pika with her black fur coat, short legs and small nose got too hot. So. We just did part of the plan.
We recovered by going to "In 'n Out" by Reid Hillview Airport for Pika to get her first ever hamburger patty (without salt) from that drive thru chain. It really does have the best beef of the chains. They will give the people extra paper cartons for dog dishes. And the people can get grilled onions there.
Yes, I'm getting slightly more pats thanks to Pika's visit, but no sign of any liver dinners yet. Maybe tonight? One can only hope.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Timberline Hook Arrived!

Got in the mail this week a special hook from Oregon. It has a dog's head and three hooks. Just the right size for my walking leash. And, perhaps, too, Pika's leash and other visitors' leashes and hats.
It came with a very nice note from Rosie. Her person is Andy Blakney, a blacksmith who works on Timberline Lodge's metalwork along with special projects like my hook. Rosie sent me her picture!! The first I've ever gotten from a female dog other than Pika. I see the ear on the hook looks a lot like her ears. And, what a nice "Cascadian" dogtag she has. I bet Andy made it for her. Or maybe another blacksmith called Lisa.Alice found out about the Timberline blacksmiths thanks to Linny Adamson, the curator of Timberline. Linny said the blacksmith shop by the highway at the Timberline road was open the weekend Alice was there and she should be sure to stop. Linny works hard not just to make sure the Lodge is as authentic as it can be, but that all the craftsman who work on it are supported, too. Hmmmmm..... maybe Alice will have to ask Andy to make some iron nails to fit the hook if the local hardware store hasn't black nails.... She thought she saw some iron nails with a flower pattern on the Lodge's front door.....

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Walking with Pika

Here I am walking with Pika and her person yesterday evening in Palo Alto. She usually follows me. She likes the same kind of grass I do. But, she is very noisy. Snuffles and grunts. Barks and barks. A very barky one. I offered to let her chase me when she arrived but she was more interested in her peoples' luggage and getting attention from my person. Hmmmm.

Friday, August 04, 2006


Most days I gobble up my food. Today it was rice and ground turkey. Yum. Note the kibble on the side. On the side, where it belongs. Fresh water has been in a green plastic IKEA bowl lately. Maybe I'll have a greenie later today.
I'm going to have to deal with Pika next week. Last time she came to California she had the nerve. The nerve! To jump up on the Sta. Rita couch, walk over my step-sister's lap as if to say, "I own the whole couch and her, too. Naa, naa!" Aaaaargh. I let her have it with a truly heart felt growl with full eye contact. Must think positive thoughts. Perhaps her visit will mean more walks. More liver dinners. A chance to show her who owns the white wool blanket. I'm ready.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Summer is now full blown here. Warm fur. Tall grass. Lots of sap in the pine needles. Must cross streets quickly or else paws hurt. A/c in the car. Backyard barbeques. Sunset meetings with all the neighborhood dogs. Coooooool water. Long naps. Summer.