Saturday, October 29, 2011

Happy birthday to my girl!


This sweet girl turned 11 today. She was just seven weeks old in this photo. 

To celebrate her special day, I decided to take her to a dog park in west Houston. I found out about it just last week and when I read it had a bone-shaped pool with sloped sides I knew that was the place.

But first?  Starbucks for a birthday puppy latte!







What a time she had! She fetched sticks in the water, played with other dogs and took a long stroll through the woods with me. When we left, it was all of three minutes before she was sound asleep in the back seat.

I've been spoiling her rotten all day, which really isn't anything unusual.  I'm pretty sure she has had a very good birthday.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I drove by that place today.  Do you remember, that little patch of land with the four tiny houses? They are still standing, that little cluster, like ghosts.  It's as if they hold our secrets. Those four tiny clapboard houses on the one grass-bare lot, chainlink fence keeping them together.  I don't remember the stairs anymore, or the furniture inside, but I remember the windows and the light.  And I remember you.

Oh, you!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Post Op


Dixie is not having a good go at post-surgery recovery, bless her heart.  Also? I'm renaming the color of my floors to Dixie Red.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Someone is getting spayed this morning


Bless her heart.  I know it's the right decision and really the only option as a responsible pet owner, but it was so hard on me to take her to the vet this morning. First, she didn't want to get into the car, which has not been an issue in the past at all. Second, during the drive, she stood with her front paws on my leg and her head burried in my chest. And she was shaking. What the heck?  Did she understand my words when I was rubbing her belly last night telling her what we were going to do this morning? Or maybe she was frightened because of the change in her routine, as in no breakfast and a car ride first thing in the morning. 

She was fine once we got to the vet. She trotted right in there and right through the doors behind the technician.  I remember that Cheyenne did the same thing when she got spayed.  Though ever since then?  Not so much. 

Dixie is not one to be happy in her crate if there is activity going on around her (as in my walking downstairs to let her out), so I'm sure the vet's office is not a quiet one at the moment.  Here at home though?  It's very quiet, and Cheyenne seems to be enjoying the absence of her little red friend.  At least one of them is have a good day.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fun times in the sunshine

This weather lately? Wow! It's promoting a lot of park time for me and the girls.






Sunday, October 16, 2011

A morning for the dogs

After suffering through an entire summer of extreme heat and drought, between my time in Vermont and the current heavenly weather in Houston, I've been delighted to get reaquainted with being outdoors.  Lately, I've been spending my mornings on the front porch, with the front door open and the dogs resting on the porch (Cheyenne) or playing in and tearing up the front yard (Dixie). 

Dixie hasn't been very present here on this site because she simply will not sit still for more than a moment.  This morning, however, I had my camera in hand for a few of those rare moments.


This is a favorite position of hers right before she launches into her Coonhound baying, barooooo rooo rooo.


She starts that baying business and Cheyenne is off the front porch and into house.


And, of course, Dixie follows her.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Homeward bound

Tonight is the last night of this visit with my tremedous and amazing, love-her-so-much friend, and her beautiful family, and this lovely state of Vermont.  There is not a single minute of this trip that I have not enjoyed. Her daughters have charmed me as they never cease to do. They are intelligent, well-mannered, curious, poised and at times absolutely silly giggle boxes. Her husband has entertained me in conversation, kindness and wit. We've cooked dinners and gone out for dinners, we've gone to a cocktail party hosted by my friend's parents who also have a house here, and we've gone to an arts festival in Stowe.

I've witnessed the change of green leaves to red and gold, and every single morning I have heard and seen flocks of geese fly overhead as I sat on her porch with my morning coffee. I've gone to sleep each night with my windows open and been lulled into slumber by the steady hum and chirp of all the bugs in the woods, and the occasional coyote calls.

We've had rainy days and nights and some very cold days and nights prompting some roaring fires in the fireplace, a couple grey days and some sunny days that were what postcards dream to be. We have tickled and danced and sung right out loud, picked wild flowers, gone to the Farmers Market and even managed a nice adults-only evening on the porch, with good wine and great conversation, beneath a dark blue blanket of  sky and a million and three stars.

Lastly, my friend and I have had several long and meaningful conversations and we have intentionally re-kindled some weakening flames within me. That will be the lasting gift of my time here. I leave here tomorrow with a full heart, a relaxed but challenged mind, and a couple goals that I look forward to pursuing and achieving. 

A couple of photos from the weekend:


Autumn corn, almost ready for harvest.


Two trees that were green when I arrived.

My little friend has picked a bunch of wildflowers just for me.




Bridge and bike path in Stowe.


As I write this post, I am sitting in what has become my usual spot on the back porch.  When I turn my  head to the right, this is my view.

So, yeah, I'm heading home tomorrow.  And I can't wait to see this girl!


And I admit it, this little devil too...


Friday, October 07, 2011

Vermont beauties

When I walk in the morning, I set out down the wooded path of my friend's drive, along the curve of the drive it spills into, and then out of the wooded area and onto a long stretch of road, bordered on one side with beautiful horse pastures, wooden fences and a stately barn.  This morning, the horses had been let out to graze in the pasture that runs alongside the road.



This dappled silver beauty strolled up to the fence and spent some time with me, allowing me to pet her and love on her.  Did you ever read the story, Justin Morgan Had a Horse?  These horses are Morgans, characterized by their expressive faces with wide-set eyes, compact but graceful build, arched necks and that wide round rump. Beautiful, aren't they? They are very popular in this state. My little gray friend is pregnant, soon to add one more to the population!

What I realized during my time with her is that horses are the only thing that make Vermont smell better than it already does.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Walk a mile in my shoes

This morning while my friend was dropping off her children at school, I bundled up (because it is cold here!), laced my tennis shoes, grabbed my camera, and set out for a walk.


I enjoy experiencing Autumn in Vermont. It's an actual season, visible in all its deserved transient glory, a short one since Winter loves to get a grip on this place just as soon as its icy hands are able.


Still, the Mountain Ash and Poplar trees are sparkling with yellow leaves and the Sugar Maples are showing off in all their red glory.


The recent rains have dropped many leaves in the woods, coloring my path with a confetti of oranges, reds and yellows.


Life large and small reveals the change from summer hum to Autumn stillness.  The air is as crisp as a just-ripe apple and with each step I take, I thrill in what I see before me.


It's easy enough to share these photos but what I can't share is the sounds. The distant and low honking geese flying overhead, the rustle of things unseen in the woods, the breeze blowing through the leaves high above me, a bird calling out. Not a car in sight, just me and the trees, the crisp chilly air, and the amazing and moody lighting, from Venetian blue to dark rumbling gray, of an Autumn morning in Vermont.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Boarding pass

Hello there!  Remember me?  My name is Alison and I used to visit this place often. Then a couple things happened, and those things ate up my days faster than Pac Man moved across that maze conzuming all those dots. Those dots?  Free time. 

First, and well documented here, the flooding and subsequent repair of my house.  I was cool during the whole thing, even-keeled, level-headed, kicked my feet up while watching my ceilings being torn out and my belongings packed into 95 boxes and, along with my furniture, moved out of my house.  I was even okay with having to move myself out of the house for two weeks. I was okay with all of that, until the day my house was finished and all my belongings moved back in.  That day?  A strange exhaustion came in from out of nowhere and settled in for a while.

Second, my new job.  Well, it's contract work but the goal on both sides is to move it into permanent employment before the end of the year.  It's a writing job and if that part of me had slumbered during my long stretch of unemployment, well it's wide awake now.  I've been doing research and writing for six weeks now.  I've been creating scripts and storyboards for training presentations, and writing brochures, technical papers for publication, and several articles.  I've been a writing machine! And that has felt so good, to be doing what I love doing, what I'm good at doing. And the research?  Getting paid to learn?  Wonderful.  But... but... I am worn OUT from it all.  My brain is tired.  It feels good, to have this kind of tired again, to be this kind of tired again.  But feeling good about it doesn't make me any less... tired. 

The night before my first day at work is the night I discovered the watery mess that my house was.  To say the least, the past six weeks have been a 360 degree turn from what was my familiar schedule.  I'm good at juggling multiple tasks and I'm not resistant to change but the last six weeks have felt as if I was surfing a gigantic wave just to stay afloat.  I do not know how to surf.

As a lucky twist of scheduling would have it, several months ago, I looked at my One Pass Mileage balance and thought, These darn things are just sitting there, it's time to use some.  I called my friend in Vermont and the planning began.  I arrived here Sunday afternoon. And I'm staying a while.