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...."

Sunday, March 1, 2015

52 Snapshots of Life; Week 9: Purple

Purple is my favorite color.  50 Shades of Purple!!  As I look around the house, I have so many purple things, in so many different shades from pale, lavender to deep, dark purple, and every purple in between.  The purpler, the better, I always say.

This week's topic for 50 Shades ..... I mean, 52 Snapshots of Life... is PURPLE.  Hosted by our friends over at The Lazy Pit Bull, 52 Snapshots is a weekly platform for sharing photos and thoughts about the week's topic.  (If you visit The Lazy Pit Bull, you'll notice that they have the exact OPPOSITE reaction to this week's topic, because they have NOTHING purple!  LOL!!).

Well, we have had a lot going on around here, and I haven't been taking many photos with my nice camera.  But I did happen to snap this funny one of Hobie, with my iPad.  He's using the Dyson Purple Animal Vacuum Cleaner Extraordinaire as a pillow!!

On a related note, because everything IS a Tori Amos song, here's our girl doing her best Purple:

Sunday, February 22, 2015

52 Snapshots of Life, Week 8: Mirror

This week's theme for 52 Snapshots of Life, hosted by The Lazy Pit Bull, is MIRROR.

I had several opportunities, over the last week or two, to take pictures of the pets looking in a mirror, walking past a mirror, lying near a mirror, or (with the twins) looking at each other with a glass door between them, thus appearing to be a mirror.  Alas, too slow with the camera to catch any of these mirror moments!

So, dragging out a photo of Yours Truly from the not-so-distant archives.  This was about two months ago, when I got my hair cut! hah!  I snapped the sorta-selfie to show to the person who recommended my new hairdresser.  Admittedly, I don't exactly get my hair "dressed" these days.  It is all natural, no style and yes, that is my natural color.  Voila!  There ya have it!

Mirror, mirror.

The blogger, herself.

Friday, February 13, 2015

52 Snapshots of Life; Week 7: Love

L.O.V.E., love!!

That's the topic for this week's 52 Snapshots of Life blog hop, hosted by The Lazy Pit Bull.

This is going to be one of the easiest posts of all 52 weeks for me, since today is my parents' anniversary.  Not their wedding anniversary, but the anniversary of the day they met.  For their entire lives, my Dad always celebrated both today (the day they met) and tomorrow (Valentine's Day), by giving my Mom two store-bought cards and writing mushy, lovey-dovey things on the inside.

As everyone by now knows (and if you don't, where've you been!?), my folks signed their cards to each other "MTAITW", WWIIs version of "texting".  The letters stood for "More Than Anything In The World".  This became the title of my series of books containing my Dad's WWII love letters.  He wrote to my Mom every single day while he was deployed in various locations throughout Europe and the U.S.  If he missed a day, he'd send her an apology or even sometimes a telegram!  The missed days were extremely rare, and my mother kept all of the letters -- approximately 1,000 of them.

But, back to the day they met.  It was February 13, 1942.  Like today, it was "Friday the 13th" but for the Mueller-Altenburg family, it would be nothin' but lucky.  The event was one of these USO dances, stateside, where women (mostly nurses) and soldiers would jitterbug the night away in a church, barn, other available building, and even in railroad cars! My Dad was always a heavyset guy, and he thought this gorgeous nurse would never like him in a million years.  But, she, too, was smitten.  They saw each other again the next night, on Valentine's Day, and then kept dating.   They were married in December of that same year, in a hurried and secret ceremony at city hall in Chicago -- like so many other couples of the day -- to make sure they "tied the knot" before Dad was deployed.

My parents' "formal" wedding photo. No, the bride didn't wear white!  

Valentine's Day was always very special for my parents, especially my Dad.  He was very romantic!

So, in honor of my folks -- here's this week's blog post of LOVE!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

52 Snapshots of Life Week 6: Create

I'm a little late posting my week 6 post for the 52 Week Snapshot Challenge (hosted by The Lazy Pit Bull).  This week's topic is CREATE. 

My mother was a talented artist.  I did not inherit that, or her penchant for being a nurse (I do not have the iron stomach she had).  I inherited my "talents" (ahem?!) from my dad:  writing and accounting, not necessarily in that order.  We both loved writing, and we both did accounting to pay the bills (oooo, see what I did there?  I made a funny!).  So, coming up with something for the topic CREATE is a real challenge.

I am writing "a" book (or is it three books?  I sort of have not come to a conclusion on that, yet).  It is a work in progress, and making little progress these days.  

It has been an extremely hectic week here, and for reasons I can't go into at the moment, I'm going to cheat just a tad and post a throwback photo as this week's snapshot.  It's a picture of my cat, Tux, lying among my father's WWII letters.  [insert shameless plug alert, here]  This photo became the cover for my second book, "More Than Anything In The World, Volume 2" which I published on   

I really love this picture because it conveys so many things I love:  my pets, writing, my parents, and my sweet "un-husband" (that's his desk and his Rensselaer Polytech lamp!).  

Next week is Valentine's Day (already??) so we will be posting about L-O-V-E love.

Until then, stay safe, particularly if you are in the snowmageddon zone like we are!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Super Sunday #kittenbowl #puppybowl #thelucybowl

K2's K9s and Kitties is a proud supporter of  Lucy Pet Foundation!

I cannot believe I am about to write a (very wordy) post about the Super Bowl.

Thirty years ago, I went out for a drink on Super Bowl Sunday, with this amazing guy.  Well, neither of us were sports fans, so we sort of didn't realize it was Super Bowl Sunday (Super Bowl XIX, Dolphins vs. 49ers, for anyone keeping track).  We arrived at the bar in town for a drink, and the place was mobbed with football fans.  We still had no idea what the heck was going on!  LOL!  At the time, Massachusetts was in the middle of a January thaw, and my potential boyfriend thought he'd be cool and drive his sports car on that day.  Only problem was, the bar didn't have a paved parking lot, and the car got stuck in the mud!  To make matters worse, both of us were all dressed up, and he was wearing white jeans!!  Of course, he wasn't going to let me drive his sports car, he didn't even know me! So, somehow he managed -- with no help from me -- to get the car out of the mud.  By the time we got back to his house, one of the tires had sprung a leak and was almost flat.  Here we are, 30 years later, and yep, we are still together!  So, I guess you could say our "anniversary" is Super Bowl Sunday.  Which is hilarious, because, like I said, neither of us is a sports fan, and even though our hometown team (the Patriots) is playing tonight, we will not be watching!  By the way, said significant other has no recollection of that night in 1985!!  (Men!!)

Back in the day!  Gil, me, and our dog, Timba -- at Long View Farm

Some differences between 1985's Super Bowl (which, it was pointed out to me, was the aftermath of the 1984 season), and today's mega-event:
  • The game in 1985 occurred on January 20th, a full two weeks earlier than the games that are played nowadays!
  • The game was held in Stanford University's stadium; not in a pro-NFL stadium!
  • The game was the very first to be broadcast by ABC!  (whaaat?!!)
  • The game was played on Inauguration Day, so Ronald Reagan was sworn for his second presidential term on the same day!
  • President Reagan appeared live via satellite from Washington, DC and performed the official coin toss (the first -- and perhaps only?? -- time a sitting U.S. President had ever done so). 
  • One of the TV commentators, Joe Theissman, was an active player in the NFL -- he would be the last active player to ever provide television commentary during a Super Bowl.
  • (This is my favorite fact!)  Celebrities were not yet performing at half-time... from Wikipedia, here are the headliners of the half-time show:  The halftime show was titled "World of Children's Dreams" and featured Tops In Blue, an elite performing tour ensemble consisting of members from the U.S. Air Force. Additional performers were recruited from USAF active, retired, and their dependents

My, how things have changed!

Today, we are watching Kitten Bowl on the Hallmark Channel, and Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet, in addition to Columbo on MeTV tonight.

Keep your eyes open for the Lucy Bowl Ad during Kitten Bowl.  It will air throughout the day, and provides a super-important message about adopting pets.  Unlike some of those for-profit companies advertising during the real game, and using cute puppies and cats in order to make money (hey, I get it, I'm just SAYIN'!), the Lucy Pet Foundation's ad is intended solely for bringing awareness to adoptable pets.    Here's the ad teaser that's been going around the internet for a few days

Pssst!!  If you click on the Lucy Bowl Ad link, in the paragraph above this video, you can see the whole ad!!  :)

Go Pats!!

Happy Anniversary to my amazing boyfriend of 30 years!