The five service pups I've raised...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hawaiian Baby Gecko

Here are the neat photos I took using the macro setting with my digital camera. He was SO CUTE!
Back in December, while I was visiting Kona, Hawaii I was delighted to find a baby gecko on Dad's lanai. Delighted because they were abundant in 1996 when I first started visiting the Big Island. But now they are not nearly as easy to find, as their food source has competition from a more recently introduced bright green gecko called the Madagascar Gecko.

See this link: (yes! they even cover the insurance gecko for Geico here!)

I loved sitting outdoors at night and hearing these little guys clucking away. And it was such fun to watch their antics as they charged across the ceiling on the lanai to snatch and then gobble down an unaware moth that was drawn to the patio light as Dad and I played cards.

The Madagascar day geckos, are stunning to look at due to their unique bright colors; they don't however seem to have the clucking or knocking sound I find so alluring.

I spent quite some time admiring this little guys toes, feet, huge eyes and large head. What a treat. Mother Nature is spectacular!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

" I'm Kerry and it's my birthday! "

Today’s my birthday and I’m 8 years old. OK well really, last Wednesday July 22 was my 8th Bday but Mom’s internet connection wasn’t working. So she said if I wrote this she would still post it to her blog.

I love my birthday. I get special treatment and presents. My sister Ronie gave me a gift I got to open when Mom got home from her doctor appointment. The humans had their fermented grape juice and I got to open my present! It was a fun stuffed bone with a squeaker, and two balls and a rope tug toy - wow! Of course instantly Ronie wanted to try to take it from me just to make me play with her. But actually half the fun was tearing open the paper – I LOVE that part, always have.

Mom says when I arrived at 8 weeks old in September 2001, the entire country needed something to cuddle and love because everyone was sad and upset. I don’t remember much about that time but I do know lots of people at Mom’s office wanted to hug me and bury their face in my fur to smell me.

Today I wore my birthday bandanna that Linda sewed for me. Mom says I can wear it all week long and probably for the rest of the month to celebrate. Here’s a photo too with my newest little sister, CCI puppy-in-training Francie II. She turns five months old the day after my 8th birthday. She’s a pest sometimes and likes to tug on my bandanna. But she’s still a fun playmate (except for when I’m sleeping and she pounces on me!)

Well happy birthday to me….the dog park gang also gave me lots of pets and hugs to wish me a good day. I wonder why humans don’t make everyday a birthday celebration as they seem happier and treat each other and us pooches so well on birthdays. Hmmm, maybe I’ll write to First Dog Bo, in Washington DC and see what he can do about that.

Glass Bits Become Art

I've been wanting to learn how to make mosaic art since I stumbled upon a gallery in Kona last December.
So I found this class online and signed up for a two day introduction to "learn the ropes".
The types of tools, how to cut, the best methods of grouting...
I took the design idea from my valence fabric in my living room.
The finished piece is the bottom picture; it's a table top for a patio table. I thought it would be perfect next to my hammock swing for this summer. I can rest my beverage on it while swinging out back. Or I just may keep it in my entry way, by my front door.

What do you think? I'm pretty happy with the finished result. I still need to paint the edges red yet.
Not quite sure I'm ready to do my master piece for over my fireplace, which is my eventual goal.
But this was a good start and fun too.
You can see Amber's classes at

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Vacation Time Flies

Why is it time at work can crawl while time spent on vacation speeds by at warp speed?

My week back here to IN and OH has sped by and already its time to fly back to San Diego this was so nice catching up with friends, seeing bits of their busy lives and what consumes them....and sharing too some of what I've been up to.

The weather has been most unusual with record cool days and only one day of rain during my entire visit. If this continues it will be Ohio's coolest July on record! I am not complaining but quite enjoying it as I hear there's been a heat wave back in S. California. I laugh that Ohio does this just to tease me, and try to lure me to moving back.

It's true every time I'm here I'm wondering and trying to picture myself back...could I really readjust? I don't really talk about it out loud anymore as I'm sure my friends and family just discount it since many times I ruminated about a move back.

As its the people I miss most of all. While I have my life in Encinitas, I truly miss my family, and close childhood friends...most people I know that stay in Calif without thoughts of ever moving are because where they moved from no longer has many people that they miss so much. The family has either scattered or often they too move to California.

Well off to lunch soon to make more vacation memories...then the long flight home.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Golden Anniversary

I arrived on Thursday night to spend some time back in Ohio with family. This weekend I spent in Indiana for my Aunt and Uncle's 50th wedding oh my.

Like the song says...."good morning yesterday, you wake up and time has slipped away; and suddenly you look to find the memories you left behind. Do you remember, do you remember the times of your life?" An old Paul Anka song if I recall the artist correctly.

What it must feel like to look around a room and see your children, your grandchildren- (one who just returned from his honeymoon himself), friends and neighbors; your wedding party- who with good humor posed in the same order as they were on July 18, 1959. Fifty years of sharing your life together with your partner, the same partner. I can hardly fathom.

It was a wonderful celebration...Jason their youngest did a neat slide show set to music that played great photos of Betsy and Bob's special times and everyday moments as well.

It was great seeing all my cousins and catching up since I had not seen them since last summer. On the ride back to Ohio with my brother driving, as the farms and fields sped by, I thought to myself, what contributes to a lasting relationship? It is certainly not the norm these days as marriages seldom last.

How does one go about finding the right person to share a life with? Someone with whom they are truly compatible? Then as the years go by, how do you successfully fulfill your vows? That is to grow old together, for better and for worse? I think it really must begin with finding someone that shares, truly shares, the pillars of your beliefs, as this will be the foundation of your life together. It seems too that successful marriages permit give and take. Each individual is allowed to enjoy their individual passions but yet they can also share and encourage, one another. And what really helps from what I've seen, is that at least one person of the two, be really easy going. Almost like a tire tied to a dock acting like a protective bumper; when rough waters roll in, the tire butts up against the dock and absorbs the shock but also bounces back and protects the side of the boat that's floating on the surface.

Two couples this weekend, I enjoyed listening to. Particularly the men. Sharing with me something they were particularly proud of about their wives...whether it was the tennis they were so good at or an art class painting they did. How sweet to hear them brag.

I would like to find a good man like this...a companion to share life's journey.

Well I toast my Aunt and Uncle on the celebration of their Golden Wedding Anniversary. What a joy to have so many to celebrate with you. Such an accomplishment to achieve what so many find elusive.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Francie is growing up

Here is sweet Francie at 2 months, 3 months, and 4 months old, in order.
My, how she is growing! On July 17th Linda and I will take our 4th shot of her at 5 months old.

They say to double a dog’s weight at 4 months old to get their “adult weight”. So Francie is 34 pounds now so she may be around 68 fully grown. That’s about Kerry’s size or actually a bit larger as Kerry hovers about 60 lbs. now at 8 years old. Very trim.

Francie’s feet are still quite large and to me her head seems a bit small for her body, so she has some catching up to do. But her nose is still jet black, which I love. And oh, her “eye liner”! Just lovely, on that sweet face of hers. Her black skin in places shows through her blond hair so it almost makes her look like she’s dirty, even when she’s just had a bath.

She went to the office with me for the first time and has done great this week. Managing the tall stairs to get to my office; falling into an easy habit of where to toilet outdoors. And the owners’ two little girls just adore her and want to know when Francie's recess is, so they can play with her. I’ll post some shots of her at work once I have them downloaded.

Here is Kerry with Francie on July 3rd at the dog park in the neighborhood.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Birthday America!

CCI Volunteers in the parade

Me and Kerry -parade spectators
What a grand 4th of July. A day starting early, spent in Coronado for the parade and a cook out with my Canine Companion friends. Ah summer time food -ya gotta love it and everything tastes better outdoors.

POOL TIME at Jeep's


And then home to shower and relax and bit before walking down the street to other dog friends' Ben, Chris and Emma's lovely home. An impromptu gathering to watch Ben's neighbor launch fireworks in the street for the kids, to their squeals of delight.
Then, we ventured to their backyard which has a staggeringly gorgeous 180 degree view of the eastern hills. No fewer than 5 fireworks in the distance, were simultaneously occurring across the skyline. What a treat! It was a full stunning moon too, with some wispy clouds floating by it.

And....I was tickled when I got home to see my red, white blue lights twinkling away (after earlier technical difficulties.)
Happy Birthday America!

Independence Day 2009

After Thanksgiving, July 4th is my 2nd favorite holiday. In conjures up memories of riding on a float in our neighborhood parade, as kids. A hand crafted Independence Hall that our dads worked so hard to make, built on a trailer bed, it was pulled by someone's pick up truck.

Another summer, memories of decorating our bikes in red, white and blue streamers to ride with our friends in the parade, waving proudly to our folks along the parade route; ending at the park where it was BBQs and picnicking. When I was older, it was marching in drill team with my high school marching band -oh those were hot days. And then there's the food memories = my mouth can still water from recalling hand churned ice cream and water melon.

America. It's had it stumbles and while it may have room for improvement and continued growth, there is no place on earth that better represents freedom! While other countries in the world like to put it down and find reason to denounce it, if you take a random survey of various citizens around the planet, most still yearn to be here or if not here, they yearn for the freedom and opportunity the United States of America represents. The concept of stepping away in faith to forge a nation, leaving a sovereign throne to create and establish a separate country...took courage. I recall what so many of our founding fathers gave up, to embrace liberty and independence from England. The young colonies ready to do what they must, to escape oppression and taxation. I hope we're not on the path back to such a state.

Today is America's 233rd birthday.
I will spend it with friends in lovely Coronado, watching the parade. This year's theme is "The American Dream". Then we'll have hamburgers and a potluck picnic at George's wonderful home.
The CCI pups and pet dogs will get to swim in the pool like last year's gathering, no doubt. This year, I will have little Francie in tow with Kerry. She's too young to do the parade, so she'll have to watch and wait until next year. It's also the 34th birthday of Canine Companions for Independence (founded in 1975). The CCI pups in training that are old enough will walk and wag along the parade route greeting their adoring fans. It's great distraction training for the pups; with antique car horns, clowns, horses, fire engines...oh yea!

What are YOU going to do to enjoy your Independence Day? I will also being thinking of our military around the globe and silently thanking them for their dedication. Happy 4th! ! !

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Summer means outdoor concerts. . .

Great venue for great music All shows SOLD OUT! Chris jams with Mark, his guitarist

Me with Jim and Kerry girl Me with Chris and Kerry

It may almost be July 4th, but I was just thinking back to how great my summer started off. As I pretty much consider Memorial Day weekend as the launch to summer. On May 31, I went and saw an awesome concert, it was a great way to begin my summer in Southern California.

As an outdoor concert is one of the pinnacles of summer. And one of my favorite venues is Thornton Winery in Temecula, just about an hour north, inland from my home – this is our local wine area. I’ve seen many concerts here and it is so lovely. Rolling hills and vineyards are all around. Thornton has a lovely patio area with a fountain, intimate seating and a scrumptious menu.

One of my favorite artists is Chris Botti. Knowing this, my friend Jim treated me and we went up to see his concert. A jazz trumpeter that got his start from being on tour with Sting, Chris’ trademark now is his rendition of songs typically from the American Songbook, such as “My Funny Valentine” and “Fly Me to the Moon”. But as evident from his recent concert at Boston Symphony Hall last October with multiple artists, Chris can also excell at playing other genres as well.

Now this day was gray and drizzly and we were wondering what we could encounter when we got further north and more inland. Fortunately as we exited the freeway, the clouds just started to lift and a few more miles east and we had sunshine! Woo hoo! What a relief, as coastally it really had been damp and chilly.

Jim and I took Kerry my yellow lab with us and a high light of the day (besides getting Chris’ autograph) was getting his photo with Kerry. I asked Chris if he liked dogs, and he replied “I love dogs!” And then I knew for certain– I really do love this man. A dog lover and a talented musician –what more could a girl want?

Locally Thornton was one of the first venues in S. California to support Chris as an artist so he always comes on his yearly tours. He played two dates and two shows on both days and all of them were sold out as you can see from the photo above. So it appears that I’m not the only Californian to enjoy his talent.
Jim and I had great seats just to the side of the stage. Due to Kerry we also met some really nice people that wanted to know about service dogs. Jim does public speaking on behalf of disability awareness so he also got some business cards, and networked with folks.

It was a great, sunny day in wine country. Then we returned once more to the drizzly fog on our way home that afternoon. We even had tortilla soup at the San Marcos Brewery when we stopped for an early dinner. Ahhh, the fickleness of So. Cal weather in May. (I'm so glad July brings plenty of sunshine to the coast -finally, after our May Gray and June Gloom).
Here's some footage from the show. I love this song. See more at