Wednesday, December 27, 2006

End of 2006 Deep Thoughts

I'm getting ready for some slumber parties with Pelle, Patsy, and Jane while Alice goes to the beach. She says she'll probably watch fireworks at the end of the year. I'll think some deep thoughts then about the meaning of life as a small dog. I'll imagine grand vistas. A big mountain. Maybe like Mt Hood where Alice took these pictures last Summer. A place to cogitate on what matters.
A favorite story heard this past year about focusing on the important...(From Jean Arthur, "Timberline and a Century of Skiing on Mount Hood" (1998), p.92 re the "Govy Olympics" at Goverment Camp below Timberline Lodge.)
"'We had a wood-splitting contest, a maplebar and coffee chugging contest and tobacco spitting contest,' says Dave Butt. 'What I remember most is the dog derby from the post office to the Village Store. A truck carried a fishing pole tied with dog bones, you know, because all Govy dogs chase cars. The race started fine until the bones fell off in front of Valian's Ski Shop. There was a big dog fight. Meanwhile some little fufu dog won."
May you win all the races in life that really matter in 2007.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Recovering from Christmas

Here I am after Christmas Eve dinner with Alice and Pika plus Pika's people, aka, Madame and Chairman Mayo. The people had lots of long sit down meals. Plenty of nice things for me and Pika, but we did not get as much meat as we hoped. Still, plenty of sofa sitting, pats, fire warming, lots and lots of walks, and I even got a couple of presents! A new halter and leash with the Mayo plaid, some plush toys, a Tibetan door swag, and a new fleece for fire sitting. Happy New Year everyone!!!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

"P" Party

The other day, Alice and I invited over all our dog friends whose names start with a "P" and their humans. Picadou came with Catherine and her parents. Pelle and Patsy came with their Jane. And, Penny came with her girls, Abby and Sarah plus their Dad.
We started off with quick introductions. Turns out Pelle thinks it's important to bark at all retrievers, like Penny, on first acquaintance. That's his job. It's not going to change. Then a long walk around the neighborhood including a sniff at the "HP" House & Garage. Penny's people told about a similar house on their very own street where two guys started the Google Company in another garage. You can't see much of that one since it's on a flag lot they said.
We all bonded very well on the walk. A big pack. What fun!
Back at the house, we got a fire, lots of dogs treats (thanks Carol and Dick!), and all the people had their choice of teas and cookies (thanks Gina for the homebaked ones, says Alice).It was one of Penny's first invites to a house party. She's learning very fast how to be a guest. She was very gentle with everyone.
We found out Sarah is thinking about becoming a vet when she grows up, if not a professional basket ball player. She and Jane had lots to talk about since Jane knows lots about animals. I'd be happy if Sarah became a vet one day. I like the one I have now, but going to a family member would be very comforting.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Frank Mayo Golf Tournament 2006

Yesterday in the rain, the hardy members of my human family played their golf tour-nament. Alice got pictures of all players but for last year's winner, Anne, and Pika's person, Catherine. Anne might play again since she stepped in a water hazard on the second hole. Bad luck. And Catherine might play again if her husband can play.
This was Olivia's first year on course. She wore a yellow slicker like Alice, plus yellow boots. Smart one, that kid. She also played in her marroon velvet Christmas dress. Very snazzy. Afterwards for the pizza and cookies, we could see her bright blue stocks of her ensemble.
Alice and Abby played in skirts. Alice said it was sort of like playing real grass golf in the 1930's. Alice golfed with Pika's person. Since only the Mayo tournament players were on course, they got to skip around holes to avoid any waiting. Cattherine and Alice even had time for a coffee break between holes 13 and 10 [sic]. Play may continue until Christmas dinner when the trophy must be presented. That trophy will outlive us all.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Caroling at Sta. Rita

Last night, I got to sit between my human sisters while they caroled by the fire. Nolan played the piano. He said he's done that at Sta. Rita for eleven years, ever since he was a graduate student. I remember coming to hear him play and the people sing when I was less than a year old with my first person. She always liked to sing "Silent Night". Singing is nice, but I don't sing. I like best the beef and lamb plus sitting in a big pack around the fire. Safe and warm.
This year, Nolan brought a friend of his, Roger, who is also a friend of Alice's. Roger and Alice both fly planes for fun and for search & rescue. Roger plays lots of instruments. My favorites are the flute and vibraphone. He brought his Dad's old vibraphone. I think lots of famous people have heard that one "sing", like Duke Ellington. And now I have, too!
Roger and Nolan played an old song by Al Jolson called "Avalon". That was the first time Alice saw Nolan really having to work hard with 100% concentration at the piano instead of sitting back and playing with his eyes closed.
Kate brought her viola and new lyrics for Jingle Bells. And, Richard joined with his violin. Richard, I think, painted the portrait of Jane on her Sibelius webpage linked to her name above. Richard also did a pastel of me when I was a puppy. Maybe I'll post that one day....
CDs, concert halls, and radios are nice. But, for me, music at home played by people is the best of all. Especially when roast lamb is involved.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Party Time

It's that time of year. Alice goes to Christmas parties.... and sometimes I get to come. She's throwing me and my dog friends a party in a couple of days. Rain or shine, it will start with a long walk. Then a warm up by the fireplace while the people eat and drink and give us some nice things like Greenies, dog biscuits, roast beef roll ups and lots of fresh water.
Alice is learning that dogs are important. This picture of a tablecloth with working Scotties went for over $202 on EBay this year. Holy moly, Alice says. She likes real dogs better than printed ones. If I were a cat, I'd purr to that.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Happiest Lab in the World

Here is one of Alice's friends enjoying a Perfect Labrador Retriever Moment. Scout hit the jackpot. Has people throw balls over and over. And best of all, most often into water which all labs love.
I see lots of labs around my neighborhood with tennis balls. Their people throw them, the labs retrieve them, over and over. All is right with their world. Me? I've never chased a tennis ball in my entire life. Alice knows she's lucky if I bring her the Fuzzy Blue Octopus for a bit of Tug of War. I prefer that. And the ocassional chase-me around inside game.
With my double fur coat with some long hair, I'm not meant to jump into water. I can only shake off so much water. But Scout, he can shake off water over and over again, almost bone dry in minutes after a lay in warm sun.

After the Cold Front

Cold front moved through here yesterday. People wearing more clothes now. Glad I have my double fur coat and that Alice is no longer clipping my feet into the sleek "Italian shoe" job. Have had liver three days straight. Life is good today.

Friday, December 15, 2006

How Are You?

I am not thrilled today. Ate something on my morning walk which did not agree with me. I think it was the grass on Addison Street. Threw it up. Only thing to do.... So, will sleep a lot today and hope for something wonderful to eat later. Maybe liver with deglazed gravy? Big storm is coming. Seems like a good time for lots of cozying and cooking inside.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Todos Santos Dog

Cold and dreary today. Short walks. Boring day. Time to catch up on sleep.
Alice is thinking about the sun in Baja. She likes to look at this picture of a dog there. Derek Buckner painted it many years ago. A happy dog. Full belly. Nice place to nap with a lady nearby to take care of him. Bliss.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Ice Skating Season

The Winter Lodge has opened. Cold enough now for outdoor refridgerated ice here in California even in the afternoons. When Alice was a kid, the only outdoor ice in the State was Winter Lodge and the one-missing-wall Olympic Rink at Squaw Valley. The former was too small for serious figure skating, the latter too cold.
Alice and her sister were taken to Winter Lodge once for pictures. Here she is in her pale blue dress. She went skating at Squaw's Olympic rink once while her sister had a competition there. Freezing!!! Alice also went once to Sun Valley with her sister to skate in the Summer while sister competed. They had their picture taken there together. Yes, we Californians are picky about weather. And ice.
Today, there are a lot of outdoor rinks. Alice calls it the Peggy Fleming/Brian Boitano/Kristy Yamaguchi effect. Three Californians who learned to skate in the State and showed so many here how much fun skating is.
So, there are now in NorCal - for the winter - outdoor rinks in San Francisco by the Ferry Building, San Jose by the Convention Center, a dinky one at the Squaw Valley Lodge, a great big one on top of the tram at Squaw (but with a roof), brand new ones at Northstar and Sugar Bowl, and of course, at Winter Lodge.
Still..... those rinks are all so small (except for the one at the top of Squaw) ... even if the ice is very nice there... something is missing. The real outdoors with the whole sky above and a huge place to skate upon. Like the Chicago Midway in winter where Alice skating during college, in the wind, ice filling the old White City exposition lagoon outside Ida Noyes, holding her arms out in a loden coat and letting the wind blow her across the ice.... or in North Dakota where it can be so cold, skating outdoors is like trying to skate on concrete.... Did that, been there, she said. That's why she took up indoor curling there. A flashe into her brain - a classmate there named "Zamboni" who was a close blood relative of the inventor of Zambonis. Patron saint of decent skating ice.
Washington DC has lots of nice outdoor rinks where Alice likes to skate. Lovely one by the National Gallery in the Sculpture Garden and there has been a pocket one near the White House and Pennsylvania Avenue which Alice tried to skate on MLK Weekend 1995, but it was closed due to a blizzard which had overwhelmed the Zambonies. (Instead that day, Alice took her skates on an impromptu tour of the White House. No line thanks to the blizzard. Funny looks from the guards at the XRay looking at her skates. Thinking inside how much damage a skate blade could do to the wood work in the Red Room....)

Alice dreams of endless rinks in city parks, glassy ice on Adirondack lakes, Russian rivers, Canadian and Dutch canals.... Twinkly lights, hot drinks, bonfires on the shore, those who can't skate pushed around in beautiful sleighs...
Me? At a skating rink? I could go for a sleigh full of warm wool blankets and furs. On the lap of a person I like. Yes, that would do for me.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Fluffy, Tuffy, and a New House

Fluffy, a neighbor and companion of Tuffy, greeted me today as I walked by her picket fence. She barks loud. BOOF! BOOF! She's not scary. Just friendly. We sniff each other and I walk on. Around her corner today, an old house was torn down. It was a rental for many years. Had had at least one less-than-great addition, lots and lots of deferred maintenance, and the yard was almost all playground asphalt. Quite the eyesore. And very few trees and bushes for dogs -- and no lawn!! Looking forward to watching a new house and yard being put in there over the next year.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


Alice is trimming back an overgrown mock jasmine plant outside my sunroom window. It's grown too leggy and is pulling too hard on a powerline. In Spring, two doves often make a nest there. I've watched them guard the eggs, feed the young birds, and then watched the little ones fly away. Alice says it was not a good place for a nest since the Big Hunter Cat Nino could get up there. Once a nest did collapse there since the plant is so leggy. With the plant trimmed, hopefully if the dove couple does another nest there it will be in a stronger place.
At the beach house is a wax picture of a nest. Alice thinks of a book passage on eggs everytime she looks at that painting:".... the immense, tender, terrible, heart-breaking beauty and solemnity of Eggs. If there had been one person in that garden who had not known through all his or her innermost being that if an Egg were taken away or hurt the whole world would whirl round and crash through space and come to an end....." F.H. Burnett, "The Secret Garden".

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Clear Skies

Alice flew over the hills to Half Moon Bay last weekend. I'm glad I didn't go along. There was some heavy turbulence above Half Moon through several thousand feet. Alice banged her head on the top of the plane because she did not have her seat belt tight enough. Lesson learned, she said.
Flying is OK. But I don't like the noise in small planes. Must find some dog sized noise cancelling headphones. Until then, please, only short trips for me on smooth air days.On the way home, she took some pictures over Palo Alto looking towards San Francisco and to Mount Hamilton. A nice clear day. Just right for clear air turbulence. But, smooth as glass on our side of the coastal mountains. Not a single bump there.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

My Show Pose

Here I am after inspecting the new hole in the backyard of Sta. Rita. It's pretty deep. People say that's where the new spa will be. I'm hoping there will be plenty of nice big flat rocks for basking for me and my dog friends. Yes, that includes Pika, too.
Meanwhile, many of my relatives were down in Long Beach, California having lots of fun getting fluffed up for the big AKC Eukanuba Dog Show. Some of the winners there get invited with their people to the Big Show of All, Crufts in England. One of the winner's people posted pix online! Here's Belle from Wanasea Kennels. Maybe I'm related to some in that picture?!And maybe I'm related to one of the dogs in this picture of 1861 Prize Dogs now on EBay. The dog on the left looks a lot like me!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Mr. C. and Spring

Alice heard late last night the father of one of her human friends had passed away. And, then today that a six year old tibetan spaniel named Spring, very beloved by her people, had passed away that same day. One had throat cancer which was diagnosed only two weeks ago, but had already spread all over. The other had pancreatic cancer, also spread all over before it could be diagnosed.
A bit more than twenty years ago, my first forever person's husband died unexpectedly on a consulting trip in Philadelphia. Almost the same day, a close friend of Alice and Pika's people had his and his wife's first baby. Someone dies. Someone is born.
Another year, one of Pika's people's first dogs died within days of a beloved teacher who loved dogs herself. Alice and her family imagined that dog leaping around and playing with their teacher since both loved to play so much -- with all of the dogs the teacher had loved during her long life.

Now, I know young Spring is leading Mr. C. to his new life. That's what many Buddhists believe. When humans die, they are led to their next life by a dog with a lantern on its tail. Passing away the very same day suffering almost exactly the same illness for exactly the same time? Can't be a coincidence. A place to go from darkness to light. Moving forward as I *always* want to do on all my walks.

Monday, December 04, 2006


I meditate a lot. Here I am after Alice got back thinking deep thoughts. Alice seems to meditate sometimes. Sitting down with a quiet calm mind. She says she does that often at the beach. Here is her favorite beach last week at high noon.

Too sandy. Too hot. I prefer oriental carpets. Hmmmmm..... maybe an oriental at a beach? I might be able to go for that. Ommmmmm.

Saturday, December 02, 2006


Alice likes to watch the "commuters" at the beach. Brown pelicans. Here they are early Tuesday morning. Local rush hour is a flight of 3-6 of them.
Alice and one of Pika's people once floated around an island in the Bahia de Los Angeles where every two feet or so was a brown pelican, standing on the shore facing the water, each with its head tucked on its chest, each in its own space. Alice says the pelicans are the best flyers at the beach. They surf the air above the ocean waves, never dipping their wings until DIVE! PLUNGE!! for a fish. An interesting sort of way to make a living.

Friday, December 01, 2006


Lots of activities today. Pika's people are in Mexico. Such exciting things happening today with a new president for the humans there.
I'm home in Palo Alto back to the regular routine.
Yesterday while out driving I saw a small white curly dog walking on Charleston. was it Pelle? I could not tell. Strained and strained to see and sniff.
Alice says it's very cold now. Last night down to 39F. I don't see what she's talking about. A bit nippy in the morning, but not bad at all. She says she misses the warmth where she was last week with the bougs and beach. Beach? I'd prefer a chase with Pelle right now.