Sunday, May 24, 2015

52 Snapshots of Life; Week 21: Sky

The sky is so beautiful here on Cape Cod.  Artists have flocked here for centuries because of the colors, which are incredible and always changing.  Today, the sky was blue, blue, blue and cloudless.  The ocean was green.  Tomorrow, it will all be different (I'm hearing it'll be gray).

Since the sky constantly changes here, I figured I would take a day's worth of "sky" shots today for this week's #52Snapshots challenge, hosted by our buds at The Lazy Pit Bull.   You don't have to be a pet blogger to participate, just take a photo (or five!) and join in on the fun!

5 a.m. - the sun peeks over the dunes

Not a cloud in the sky!

Keep your eyes on the horizon -- where ocean meets sky

The long and winding road

Nauset Lighthouse with a cloud-free sky

Monday, May 18, 2015

52 Snapshots of Life; Week 20: Mother

These blog hop topics just get stranger and stranger, in terms of serendipity.  Last weekend was Mother's Day, but last week's post topic was TEACH, so I posted a pic of Gil when he was a professor at Clark University, back in the day.

This week, even though Mother's Day was a week ago, the topic is MOTHER!

Now, I am not a biological mother of anyone, but I have always considered my fur kids and my employees (lol!) as my "children".  And, of course, Gil's kids and grandkids!

This past weekend was Gil's memorial, and I was delighted to finally meet his (our... my...?) twin
6-week-old grandchildren for the first time.  If the topics had been switched, with TEACH being closer to the end of the school year; and MOTHER being closer to Mother's Day, I wouldn't have been able to post this photo, because I hadn't met the babies yet!

I am a proud grandma!

Yours truly, on the left, holding baby Drew; mama Abby on the right holding older sister, Lucy!

The 52 Snapshots of Life blog hop is hosted by our pals at The Lazy Pit Bull.  You can join the action by using the hashtag #52Snapshots on any social media platform.  Anyone can participate, you don't need to be a pet blogger. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

52 Snapshots of life; Week 19: Teach

I knew exactly which picture I wanted to use for this week's 52 Snapshots of Life photo blog-hop; hosted by our friends at The Lazy Pit Bull.

It's not a dog or cat picture, this week; but that's ok.  The blog-hop is not limited to pet bloggers. Anyone can join in the fun.  If you have a social media account, just use the hashtag 52Snapshots and snap away each week, brush up on your photography skills, or dig up and scan an old photo.

Back to that picture... it's an oldie.  My late boyfriend-husband (that's what I've decided to call him!) was a university professor long before I met him.  When I was just 10 years old, he was teaching students in Worcester. Mass. all about the fine points of philosophy.

He was an innovative teacher, in that he used media, photography, film and music for his classroom presentations long before anyone else had thought of it (think Prezi or but with film, tape, and large cumbersome equipment that had to be lugged around by strong teaching assistants!).  Keep in mind that this was, like, 45 years ago!! Students would sign up for his lectures, and would sometimes be spilling out into the corridors to catch a glimpse of his original and advanced ways of teaching.

I can hardly count the number of people who have said to me, during the last 7 weeks, "Gil taught me __________ (fill in the blank)."  Even decades after he left his teaching career to become an entrepreneur, he continued to teach others, including me, for the rest of his life.

So, in honor of teachers everywhere.... here's an old pic of a true teacher at work.  Dig the sideburns, man.  Groovy.

The students you see pictured here are now in their 60s!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

52 Snapshots of Life; Week 18: Below

Look out below!!!!

That's our theme for this week's 52 Snapshots post, hosted by our friends at The Lazy Pit Bull.

Since I'm a little late, and it is Wednesday besides, I'm making it a two-fer:  Wordless Wednesday AND 52 Snapshots, all in one!

Let's try this upside-down, and with one eye closed!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

52 Snapshots of Life; Week 17: Earth


What better depiction of "Earth" than a hound lying in the DIRT?!
EARTH is this week's topic in the 52 Snapshots of Life blog hop, hosted by our furry pals at The Lazy Pit Bull.

Charlie Brown and I, along with our human friend, Andrea, participated in Sweetpea's bi-annual fundraiser walk at Barre Falls Dam this morning.  Sweetpea for Animals is one of our local shelters, and I've known the folks who run the shelter for many years.  

I briefly hesitated, and thought about canceling, because we had said goodbye to our beloved Hobie, yesterday after dragging out his life for far too long.  He was the best dog in the world.  I know everyone says that about their dog.  

After much soul-searching, I decided we would walk (and donate) in his honor. We called our little team of three, Hobie's Heroes.

Andrea was kind enough to snap this pic of me and Charlie.
Honest to Pete, I look more and more like my mother every day.
Yeah, I am not afraid to wear my "Crazy Dog Lady" t-shirt in public!

There'll be no "Earth" burial for Hobie, per se -- he is being cremated so I can bring his ashes to various places on the Earth where we spent time together over our 15-year companionship.

You may remember, we buried Hector in the back yard a few years ago.

In happier times:  Hobie, soaking up some Earth at one of his favorite places, Thompson Pond

Sunday, April 19, 2015

52 Snapshots of Life; Week 16: Quizzical

Definition of QUIZZICAL:  
(of a person's dog's expression or behavior) indicating mild or amused puzzlement.

"she he gave me a quizzical look"

Did you just say..... WALK!?

This is not a recent photo.  It's probably eight or nine years old.  It's a funny one of Hobie that pops up sometimes when I'll be looking for another photo.  I thought of it right away when I saw that this week's topic for 52 Snapshots of Life (hosted by our pals at The Lazy Pit Bull) is QUIZZICAL.

Have a great week!!
(See you at BlogPaws in May!)

Saturday, April 11, 2015

52 Snapshots of Life; Week 15; Blessings

This is hopefully the last of the bittersweet posts for a while.

It's three weeks since we lost our Gil, and I'm trying to find some semblance of "the new normal". After spending 30 years with someone, it's very strange making choices and decisions about everyday things, without consulting that person or taking their feelings and desires into consideration.

"Life goes on."  He would say, often.

To prove his point, last week, Gil's twin grandchildren were born.  Unfortunately, they didn't get to see their grandpa on this earth, but I believe they "met" in the cosmos between birth and death, if there is such a thing. He's watching over them, and us.

In the middle of all this grief and sadness and shock, the twins are more than a blessing.  They are a great gift.  A carrying-on.  The next generation.

Hopefully their parents won't mind me sharing these pictures for this week's 52 Snapshots of Life post, hosted by The Lazy Pitbull.

Without further ado, here are "my" youngest grandkids:

Big sis Lucy (ha ha I love that!) and her little brother, Drew!!


And for fun:  Gil (boy on far right) and HIS siblings, parents and grandparents!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

52 Snapshots -- catching up -- Travel, Green and Spring

Three weeks behind, and catching up on the 52 Snapshots project, hosted by our pals at The Lazy Pit Bull, here are three photos representing the two topics I missed (Travel, and Green); and this week's topic, Spring.

When I saw the topic three weeks ago was "Travel", I groaned audibly.  Can I ever get away from the topic of travel?! lol But then, I lost my sweetie on March 20th, and a friend dug up this old photo of him standing in front of a map of the U.S.
at work.  The pic is from back in the 70s or early 80s, lest you think he's a throwback to Michael Landon, or something.
.All of those pins/flags on the map represent student groups that were traveling with our company that year!!  

Green!!  If my sweetheart had done what he USUALLY does in February and March of any given year, he would be here, at his vacation home in Tobago.  This is the front yard/garden/driveway of the property.   The photo was taken by a friend about a month ago, and emailed to me.  I never showed it to Gil because I figured it would bum him out to see the gorgeous vegetation of his favorite place, while he was stuck here in snowmageddon, and sick besides.  I'm glad I kept it to myself.

Spring!  Well, almost.  The snow here in Massachusetts has not quite melted.  We are working on it!  We're going to have lots of fences to repair, and have already repaired a section of roof.  Gil died on the first day of spring.  It was the vernal equinox, the "super moon" AND there was a solar eclipse that day.  Nothin' like going out with a bang, dude!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Mourning Dove

My parents were older when I was born.  When I was about seven years old, they had already been married 25 years!  They decided to take a second honeymoon (even though they never had a FIRST honeymoon because of the war).  They went to San Francisco and Hawaii, and were gone for three weeks.

To babysit me, my grandmother Altenburg made the journey to Massachusetts from Illinois where she was living at the time, having just lost her husband, my grandfather, the year before, in 1966, which caused her to return to Illinois from Florida (if I have the story right).

One day, Grandma and I were sitting on lawn chairs on Frost Street between the Mueller house and the McIntyre house, on a piece of land we called "The Village Green" watching traffic go by and getting some air.  It was actually just part of our yard, but we kids liked to play there, and it was really cool.

I kept hearing a sound.  A sort of "ooo- ooo - oo" that seemed to occur every 15 seconds or so. I asked Grandma, "What is that?", and mimicked the sound.

"It's a mourning dove." explained Grandma.

"But, it's afternoon."  I replied, puzzled.

"No, mourning. M-O-U-R-N-I-N-G."

Being an accomplished speller, I knew that morning was the time of day, and mourning was when people were sad.

"Oh!"  I exclaimed.

Fast forward 20 years, to approximately 1987.  I was asleep at Long View Farm in the early morning hours with my sweetheart, Gil.  Lying there looking up at the sky through the skylight over the bed, we groggily engaged in some pillow talk.  A mourning dove started cooing.  "oooo-ooo-ooo", every 15 seconds, like they do.

"Listen to that owl."  whispered Gil.

"It's a mourning dove."  I whispered back.

"I thought it was an owl."

"No, it's a mourning dove.  They go, 'cooo -- ooo -oo'.  Owls go oo-oo-ooo-OOO, and they come out at night, usually."  Here I was, educating the great teacher!

"Hmph.  Thought it was an owl."  he muttered.

We went downstairs to have coffee in the kitchen.  Some of the LVF staff were milling about.

"I heard an owl."  Gil told them.

"It's a mourning dove."  I sighed, and mimicked the "cooo-ooo-oo" thing.

John Farrell said, "Yeah, that's a mourning dove."

Geoff Myers agreed.  Kent wasn't too sure.

"Hmph.  Could've sworn that was an owl."  grumbled Gil, disappointedly, and left the room, summarily ending the discussion, as he often did.

Fast forward 27 years to this morning.  His sister on the west coast, and I here in Massachusetts, decided to have a sort of "moment of silence" type of thing for Gil at 9:00 a.m. to help his spirit travel well.

I sat on the bedroom floor, where his bed used to be, alone, hugging one of his flannel shirts close to me, a candle lit, a bouquet of flowers from his sister having been delivered just moments before, and an old quartz crystal that belonged to his mother magically announcing itself from a nearby shelf.  I placed the flowers, candle and crystal on Gil's favorite cutting board.  "Bring me my board," he would say.  It was the perfect place to set up a small altar for the ceremony.

It was then that I heard the familiar "cooo-ooo-oo" outside the bedroom window.  The first mourning dove of spring, 2015.

A light rain is falling and the fog over the lake is thick.  The dogs are unusually silent, for once.  The cats are zooming around the house, playing with spirits, no doubt.  Hobie is sound asleep.  The neighborhood is quiet, except for the first birds of spring, chirping.  The washing machine is humming its final load of Gil's laundry.

And the mourning dove is singing her sweet cooing song.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A fond farewell to k2k9's DogFather

Yesterday, my sweet, beautiful, wonderful fella, Gil Markle, crossed over to the other side after a brief illness.  He was taken mercifully fast. The outpouring of condolences from people he knew around the world has been mind-blowing.  But there's one thing that was only mentioned by one person -- Gil's love of dogs (and cats).

Around here, the pets and I refer to him as "Daddy".  We bought him a sweatshirt that depicts a spoof on the Godfather movie logo, "The DogFather"!!

His favorite dog was Hector.  His favorite cat, Newman (aka "Hairball").  Gil gave every cat a nickname.  Newman is "Hairball" because when he came to us, he had a skin problem and had been shaved everywhere except one tuft of fur on the end of his tail, like a pom-pom.  Tux's nickname is "Bullet" because he flies through the air, without touching the ground.  And Cali is "Lady Kitty" because, well, she's the only female!

During recent days and weeks, friends and family have been sending me photos of Gil from the past. I started noticing the dogs.  So many dogs.  I thought I'd share them here on the blog, as a tribute to our Gil, one who loved dogs (and cats) just as much as I do.  Enjoy!

Little toddler Gil, with a pit bull (or Boston terrier?) 1944!!

Gil, his mom, Connie, brother Bill, and sister Janet.  Dogs are Salty (leashed) and Julie (being held by Billy)

Gil approx 12 years old, with Collie girl, Julie
Gil with his first Collie as an adult, Cassie

The Markle family's first dog, Irish Setter, Molly
Salty in the living room in front of the fireplace in Tenafly

Before Hector, Gil's most beloved dog was the short-lived Schulz;  another Collie mix

Gil and Hobie, 2000
Hey, he likes to wear Speedos! 
Hobie the lap dog!  Can you spot Hector in the picture? Look closely!
Still at it!  2009!
Gil, Hobie and me on the dock at Mike M's house

More recently, Gil admiring Hobie and Cali (Lady Kitty), around 2009-2010.  Again, did you spot Hector in the picture?!


Hobie, Charlie and Gil at home, 2012.

All the "dogs" like hanging out with Gil when he's working, including Hairball

During our last trip to Eastham together (who knew?!).  Look at the admiration and love!  August, 2014

Best friends, forever.  Gil and Hobie, in Spencer, autumn 2014

Gil would get so annoyed with collie-mix Charlie Brown, but....
the man's hand on the dog, and the dog's paw on the man's leg about says it all.
photo ca. 2014-2015

RIP to our DogFather
Gil Markle
July 7, 1940 - March 20, 2015

Sunday, March 8, 2015

52 Snapshots of Life, Week 10: Mischief

MISCHIEF is a topic no pet blogger should have any trouble blogging about!  With six pets, we've got mischief in spades around here!  The clincher is being fast enough on the camera buttons for a photo blog hop like 52 Snapshots of Life, hosted by our pals at The Lazy Pit Bull. When you're trying to catch your critters in the act of mischief, blurry photos and runaway pets are a huge part of the equation.

Newman must have received a message about this through the kitty cosmos, because all week I was trying to catch someone in the act of mischief-making, and kept falling one step short.  Yesterday morning, he practically staged the event for me!  I woke up to the sound of paper ripping.  Sure enough, Newms had gotten ahold of a roll of paper towels, as he often does.

The view from my bed! 

Not having a camera handy, I grabbed the first device I could find -- the iPad that I keep beside my bed so I can play Words With Friends in the middle of the night while Hobie is outside relieving himself at, oh, 3 a.m.!  Unfortunately, the sun was blazing through a nearby window, so the best mischievous moment of the day (Newmie with paper-towel stuck to his lip!) didn't come out great.


Nevertheless, I got some great shots with both the iPad, and, eventually, the real camera.  He was nice enough to keep playing while I ran upstairs to get the Canon!  Snap, snap, snap!  Enjoy!

"Cooper can't have any."
"What? I'm not doin' anything."

Really getting into it now.
"Must. Concentrate. Must. Concentrate."

"Nom, nom, nom." 

"But look how cute I am...."
"...You can't possibly be mad."
"I want you to know, I had absolutely NOTHING to do with this.
I'm way over here, across the room! "     
"Heh.  I'm all done, now."

"Ho-hum.  That was boring."

"Where to next?"

"Out there, maybe?"

"Think I'll just leap off this table...."