Deep Images….with Jack Handy

You know that SNL sketch where the verbiage of a “deep thought” with the Jack Handy voice over lays out a bunch of nonsense? That plays out in my brain in real life whenever I am on a solo bike ride or run or walk with the dogs. I think my best deep thoughts while in my head doing physical activity – a sort of moving mediation. More often than not much of it is gibberish and/or forgotten once off the trail.

In an effort to recapture some of the thoughts, I brought my phone along and captured some images. I took about a bazillion photos and since this isn’t an amateur photography blog nor a living room where people are subjected to torturous hours of viewing Aunt Linda’s vacation slides, I will spare you all of them. Still, there are a lot of photos, so you are forewarned. Just know that I did make an effort to not include them all to bore you endlessly. **(Although, if you are reading this within a week or two of it being published, you have nothing better to do because you are quarantined with your family and need an escape. You. are. welcome.)

To change up our routine, I walked with Hippo solo today while the hubby took care of the littles. If you are new the blog – we have three dogs. (Correction: we have two dogs and a Hippo (the middle photo) and if you knew him you’d understand.)

The Hippo is a giant goober. I love him to pieces. Today was the first time he’d walked a long walk with me since his 2 knee replacement surgeries over a year ago. (He’s now Titanium Hippo!) We took it nice and slow and sniffed all the things and ate lots of clumps of freshly mown grass despite the fact that I told him not to. He pretended not to hear me.

“What? Did you say something? I was busy sniffing.” Uh. huh.

Walking or running around this area one must always be on the lookout for deer (there are tons!) or eagles (they fly all around and low!) and even whales have been spotted in our little inlet (haven’t seen them myself but I keep trying)! We didn’t see any eagles, but did see tons of seagulls and this guy:

He flew right over our heads and it was AMAZING. After looking it up (because president of the Audubon society I am not) I learned that he is a Great Blue Heron. Super common apparently. What is not common is to be ready with the camera at the same time as the launch of a flyover. Nature and wild life are amazing and I always come away grateful for the universe winks.

We saw (and smelled) loads of evidence of spring. The colors were vibrant and gorgeous and the cloudy day made for nice photography. I love seeing little flowers and daffodils and the Indian paintbrush native to this area bloom. Spring is always the season of hope, and this year the need for it is amplified.

Maylor Point trail is stunning and a quick escape from my house while ensuring social distancing. From my doorstep, down the trail and back was 4.5 miles of nature and solitude for which my heart and head were in desperate need.

Dog photography is not for the faint of heart. I don’t carry treats much (mostly because I forget) so I have to be quick when the shot presents itself! Luckily today Hippo was (mostly) cooperative. Except for that one selfie, which made me giggle because SQUIRREL.

I love playing with filters, color, and black and white photography. Partly because of the COVID19 quarantine, and due to the weather, it is eerily quiet. The old buildings, rundown tennis court, and not-oft used recreation areas on the military base make for great apocolyptic-esque subjects.

What an accurate photo for our current slower pace of life. We actually have SO. MUCH. TIME. Quarantine or not, it’s the same 24 hours each day. What we do with those hours makes all the difference.

There is a large number of deer that roam this little peninsula. The come out like clockwork and while not tame, are very used to people. They nibble and watch us take photos of them, probably wondering why we are so odd. Hippo still thinks they smell weird and would love to investigate further, but they are bigger than him so he is secretly glad I make him stay on leash.

For the folks who have never been to the Puget Sound, this would constitute a “beach”, albeit somewhat loosely defined. The white things stuck all over the rock on the left are barnacles. Barnacles are little arthropods (related to crustaceans) and they are abundant here! They also hurt bare feet so no kicking off the flip flops. (Not that you’d want to wear flips because brrr cold.) The thing you won’t see in abundance here is sand. Rocks are however everywhere and really, aren’t they just larger grains of sand? Technically I guess we can let it be called a beach even though you won’t find many people in bathing suits rushing to take a dip.

The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.”

Author disputed, but credited to Mary Stevenson 1939

There is no question that a dog can carry us through hard times. It is often said that it’s no coincidence that dog is God spelled backward. While I don’t worship my dogs, they are exquisite examples of unconditional love and acceptance, patience, and understanding. This is my visual take on the poem, Footprints in the Sand. (You can read it in its entirely here: https://wallpapersafari.com/footprints-poem-wallpaper/).

This concludes the tour of random deep (and not so) thoughts. Thank you for coming. Please gather your belongings and watch your step as you exit.

And don’t forget to wash your hands. ❤️

Dog Love

This may come off as a rambling of my love affair with my dog. Or it may be my endorphin high talking. Or perhaps a combination of both.

I have always loved animals, but somehow this is just different.

When Eric and I were first married, he deployed and I had a dumb-attack and adopted two Chesapeake/Lab puppies. Overwhelmed with the cuteness overload, I bit off more than either of us could chew and ended up adopting them out to more suitable families. (Who knew that those cute little puppies would be so MASSIVE!?) It was hard, and I was sad, but I knew it was for their own good. We were both working full time, traveling, and weren’t in a place to be able to give them the consistency they needed. I see this so clearly now as hindsight is indeed 20/20.

We adopted Buck, and partly due to our previous foray into dog parenting, I was completely blindsided by how hard our whole family, and myself in particular, have fallen for this little goofy guy. I continued to follow Heartbeats Dog Rescue on Facebook (the organization we adopted Buck through) and noticed they had this little puppy that was up for adoption. I showed the picture to Eric and he just shook his head and asked, “Really?!

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Seriously?! How do you resist this face?! They tell us she’s a “Chug” (Chihuahua/Pug mix)!

We took the kids and Buck to meet this little girl, Whitney. It would really all depend on him and how he got along with her. The last thing I wanted to do was bring in another dog and have fights and problems between the two. We walked in and they sniffed each other, wagging tails as if they’d known each other forever, then she proceeded to crawl right up on Jake’s lap, snuggle in and lick his face. The grin on that boy’s face nearly made me cry. She then wiggled right up onto Hannah and she was smitten. How do these furry little loveballs do it? They create such a fun, deep joy and a sense of contentment that just feels so right there are scarcely words to describe it. They live in the moment, eager, and happy to just be.

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We adopted her, and even Eric had to admit he was taken with her. She is such a love, a bit more mellow than Buck, but still a puppy so she brings out the playfulness in him.

The goal was to be able to walk and run with them both, but was a little nervous about it Whitney seemed a little confused by the leash, didn’t know any commands, and I wondered if I’d once again bit off more than I could chew. Hannah and I worked with her, teaching her how to sit. She is eager to learn, eager to please and picked it up right away. Her little expectant face gazing up at mine, her whole body wagged as praise was lavished on her.

I’ve watched enough Dog Whisperer and Cesar 911 to learn a bit, and with the dog training classes I’ve been taking I  feel confident, (or calm assertive) and more of a pack leader. Every time I watch an episode of Cesar helping a family with their animals, I cry. Like ugly cry. There’s just something about they way a dog loves. I’ve also thought it amazing when he teaches dog owners to lead their packs, walking many dogs at once. The people always talk about how empowering the experience is. Again, cue the waterfalls from my eyes.

Their leashes on, I took a deep breath and mentally let go of the sense of failure I had from our other dogs. I could be a pack leader. I could be a good dog mom. Buck has been proof of that. Out the door we went. They did great. We had some kinks to work out at first with who was going to be where, but after a couple of minutes, everyone fell into place. Buck on the outside, Whitney in the middle and then me leading the way. We practiced our commands, we ran, we sat, we said good morning to our neighbors. To say it was 3 of the most fun miles would be an understatement. It was empowering, exhilarating, and good luck wiping the perma-grin off of my face!

I love these dogs.

They have filled a void I didn’t know existed. They may be rescue dogs, but ultimately they do so much more for us than we ever do for them.10849809_10203325058911654_4791267833301431794_n

More Than Miles

Sometimes miles drag. It’s impossible to push yourself out of the bed in the morning. Then there are those kind of runs. The ones that are etched in your memory as a really great run. We’ll take 14 “meh” runs just to have that one.

This morning was a great one.

I had my clothes set out the night before, making it less likely to talk myself into another “just 10 more minute” love affair with my snooze button. Grabbed some water, some breakfast and out the door I went.

The early morning, before the rest of the world is vertical, is my absolute favorite time of day. I love the feeling of being the only person out and about. It’s open space, quiet calm, and time that is mine alone.

It was a misty, almost foggy morning. This is the kind of heavy mist that makes it smell fresh and clean. If green had a scent, it would smell like the Pacific Northwest after a long-awaited rain. Hearing the damp gravel crunch and grind under the rhythm of my feet, I noticed bunnies poking their heads out, look at me, then dart quickly back under cover. Birds were busily chattering their morning routine. Nearing the end of the trail where I regularly run, I looked up to a piling about 10 yards away and saw an eagle perched right on top eye-balling me. I stopped and just smiled and admired how majestic (and freaking HUGE!) he was. Some runs are about more than just miles.

After a few moments Mr. Eagle grew bored with me and our staring contest and spread out his impressive wings and flew off. As I made the run back up the hill, I decided on impulse to head in a different direction and popped through a little trail.

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With purple being my favorite color, I was stunned and delighted to discover this field that is normally covered in yellow Native American paintbrush plants was dotted with lavender:

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The picture doesn’t do it justice. It was stunning to see what I expected to be yellow, covered in purple.

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The little bunny was watching me!

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So pretty and purple!

This was just one of those runs that felt tailor-made for me. It was as if the my little corner of the world held up it’s cup of coffee and said “cheers!” We are down to less than 2 weeks from moving and I know this was one of my last runs in this beautiful place. Today wasn’t about miles, which are great. It wasn’t about pace, which is fine. It was just feeling the gravel under my feet, hearing the birds getting their day started, and me finding a way to bid farewell to another chapter in this crazy military journey.