Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy Holidays!

As today is New Year's Eve, I figured it was not too late to showcase our 2013 Christmas card before the year comes to a close! 

It was a Charlie Brown Christmas at our house this year with our little potted tree that was just about the same height as Milton.  We like to keep it simple, and we do!  Merry, Merry Christmas and a Happy, Happy New Year to you all!

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Few, the Proud, the Stupidly Cold

Do you all recall the Summer 2013 Air Conditioning Catastrophe, which left us trapped in our house for one entire weekend in 100+ degree heat?  Well, we recently topped that with the Winter 2013 Heating Disaster, which occurred when a vicious ice storm descended upon Dallas this past weekend confining us to a 45 degree house in the dark.  I assert that this frigid cold was much, much worse than the brutal heat, but Jeff claims that I have just blocked out all pain from my memory...  He could be right, but my fingers and toes still feel slightly numb even after heat was finally restored!

It all began on Thursday evening at 7P.M., as I was driving to collect Milt from daycare, when I received the phone call that school was canceled for Friday due to impending rainy sleet and snow.  Of course, I was absolutely thrilled...!  I grabbed the Milt Dog and zoomed over to WalMart to quickly pick up a few provisions before returning to our home.  As we stayed up late watching Elf and drinking hot chocolate that evening, I was all prepared for a nice, long weekend baking cookies and watching movies in our toasty warm house.  That, unfortunately, was not to occur...

The next morning we awoke at 5:30A.M. to the harsh sound of heavy snow sliding and ice-covered branches breaking.  Pulling the curtains aside, we saw the ground frosted with white, and, of course, we had to push Milton outside to go play.  He was quite happy to lick, jump, and romp around while hunting for squirrels, his favorite pastime.  At precisely 7A.M., Jeff and I were still nestled warm in bed, when a tremendous crash was heard across the neighborhood, and we both simultaneously thought, Uh oh...  My charging cell phone clicked off, and I knew the power had completely fizzled out.  What a bummer...!  My dreams of luxuriating in a cozy house over a long weekend dissipated in mere seconds.

Milton enjoying this Dallas oddity -- snow.

Backyard romping

Ice skating on the driveway!

Sliding about

The offending downed power line; surprisingly, it was actually not one of our massive trees that caused the outage.

The hours to follow, a full 58 to be exact, were just pure misery.  Throughout the course of Friday, the heat in our house dropped from a comfortable 72 degrees to somewhere in the 50s.  Any sane person would have beat it out of there to go stay with friends or family; however, Jeff and I were resolute that the heat would quickly return, and we adamantly refused to leave our little house in this odd predicament.  In hindsight, I liken us to those strong souls who refuse to evacuate their homes when a hurricane is about to hit, or the sole survivors of a nuclear war.  We are a bit loopy in our decision making...  However did we survive?

Over the full course of the weekend, the temperature did eventually sit at 42 degrees...!

A weak attempt to slightly heat our house.

I shelled lots and lots of pecan!  The monotony of it all gave me great focus.

Milton bundled up. 

He curled up too -- note our new slip covers or rather sheets.

Daddy Dog and Milton even read together in bed.  When you have six blankets piled up on top of you, and it is still not enough, you need to haul up the Milt Dog too for added warmth.

The ice really was quite beautiful despite breaking so many tree limbs.

Geraniums frozen in time.

By Sunday morning, we were a bit nervous about our stockpile of deer meat in the freezer.

Over this very long weekend, we bonded with neighbors by newly exchanging cell phone numbers, walking to go eat dinner, and sharing candles.  Surprisingly, Jeff and I bickered very little, compared to the A/C blow-out; this was probably due to actually needing each other... for warmth!  Also, I think we were both gloriously rested since it makes for a very short day when it is only light from 7A.M. -- 5P.M.  Time was spent outside the house sitting with Milton at a local book store, very, very carefully driving to CostCo to procure our Christmas cards, and slip sliding around outside to survey the state of things.  By Sunday afternoon, it was all beginning to get a bit mind-numbing, bone-chilling, and just plain depressing.  Pop and Momeaux even graciously offered to drive six hours from Louisiana to bring us a generator, but we were in pretty darn deep by then, and we agreed to power through it.  Oncor had estimated a 12:30P.M. Sunday afternoon fix, but with 250,000 people in the area without electricity, and we, only three houses without power on the block, we were not really a high priority on anyone's list.  I did, however, manage to accomplish all of this:

My thumbs are super sore.

By 5P.M. that evening, I was beginning to go a bit batty, especially at the thought of spending another night in the bitter cold, when I, thankfully, glimpsed this out our back windows.


 I asked our hero if I could take his picture, and 30 minutes later our lights flickered back on!  I have never, ever been so happy in my entire life to be so toasty warm.  In the midst of this entire debacle, Jeff said to me, "Well, at least we are having an experience."  My reply was, "I don't need to have every single experience in my lifetime!"  We might have been too proud or stupid to ask the favor of a friend or family member to spend the night, but Jeff, Milt, and I certainly grew closer stuck in this chilly quagmire.  Next time our heating company asks if we want to donate a few dollars for all those who cannot afford to pay their heating bill this winter season, I am going to check, Yes!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Nature's Bounty!

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!  This is an extra special Thanksgiving for us because we have been fortunate to have quite the backyard bounty.  In the North, we gather apples, but in the South, we collect... pecans! 

When I first noticed Jeff picking up these peculiar brown nuts from our deck, driveway, and yard, I thought... why?  Certainly they are just dried up nuggets that will lie around our house until I, inevitably, toss them out.  Little did I know, that we had been blessed with something akin to gold!  Yes, I am quite serious when I say this -- gold.  When you rip these little shells open, there is an actual pecan inside, just like you would pay a pretty penny for in the grocery store.  Since I am quite cheap (I can say this because I am speaking about myself!), I was overjoyed at our special little crop. 

The main trade off, however, is our ancient pecan tree overshadows our entire backyard, which stunts any sort of grass growth and produces an absolute ton of leaves.

Milt Dog likes to be in the thick of things when we work with the leaves outside.  Note his winter coat is growing in...

With a tree, like this, we stay awfully busy during the fall...

The branches are actually a highway for squirrels and a constant source of amusement for the Milt Dog.
Just a weekend's work...
Jeff likes to pick up the nuts, but once I found out what was inside, I run out in the morning and the evening, like it is a veritable Easter egg hunt.  The nuts like to hide, so you need to have a sharp eye and kick at the leaves.  I equate it to spelunking, of course, with Milton by my side.


Milton likes to help too.  If we are rooting around looking for things on the ground, goodness knows his snout is right there in the midst of things!  Milt actually is not the best of help because he likes to nibble, gnaw, and eventually swallow our pecans, which wreak havoc on his little tummy.  The other evening, actually, Milt fell asleep on our bed, and he threw up in the middle of the night.  Did he get sick in our bed?  Why no, he leaned over the side and puked on the floor.  My mom deemed that considerate, and we agreed.  We prefer that Milt sticks to ball playing in the backyard rather than snacking.

Ball in mouth

What in the world do we plan to do with all these pecans?  I, and I am taking Jeff down this rabbit hole with me, plan to gift these little beauties away for Christmas in the form of pies and candy!  We actually kicked it off at Thanksgiving baking a pie for Jeff's parents and aunt and uncle.  I used Grandmother's authentic Southern recipe, so one can only imagine how tasty these must have been.  In case you are wondering, I haven't even tried a bite yet!

My handiwork

Jeff and I are certainly not done yet.  We have about four containers, very similar to this one, still waiting for us to crack.

I try to make the pecans look aesthetically pleasing on our counter...!

Here is our cracking device; it is called a "rocket."  Pretty cool, huh?

Well, if you are friends or family, expect to receive a homemade AND homegrown gift this year from Milt Dog and family.  Happy Thanksgiving, everyone -- gobble until you wobble!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Snow Day in the South!

Yippppeee -- I'm staying warm and safe at home all day today!  Growing up in Upstate New York, a snow day meant freezing temperatures and at least a foot of snow.  Here in Texas, a snow day is usually called the day before due to extreme anxiety over the possibility of inclement weather.  It may seem ridiculous, but, regardless, I will partake in this silliness, even if it is not a Winter Wonderland outside...!

On that note, it has been incredibly cold here recently, with temperatures in the low 30s, which makes our morning runs and afternoon walks just a tad bit, let's say, uncomfortable.  This weather has us all shivering, so Jeff and I decided that Milt Dog could also use a little extra warmth.

Sitting pretty

Of course, we thought it would be cute if Milt wore a t-shirt from our joint alma mater.  We know it is short-sleeved, but Milt does have all that thick fur to keep him warm as well.  Although, I do not think he was too fond of his little outfit.

Attempting to see what's on his back

Toasty warm but uncomfortable

As much as we like seeing Milt Dog in a shirt, he was not quite as enthused to be the one wearing it.  I guess he thinks shirts are just "human stuff."  Well, Milt better get used to it because if this cold weather keeps up, he is going to be wearing sweaters pretty soon...

Enjoy your day and stay warm, everyone!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

I am sitting here, in my fleece pajamas, typing this post very early on a Saturday morning.  Truth be told, I have missed blogging.  The opening months of school are always extraordinarily busy as I attempt to balance lesson planning and grading with my yoga, friends, and, of course, Jeff and Milt Dog!  Blogging makes me happy though, and after a monthlong hiatus and a bit of prompting from my biggest fan, Mom, I am back at it.  Let's see how it goes!

The very best news I have to share is Milton made the Doodle Kisses calendar for the second year in the row!  When I first heard the news, I was a bit disappointed because Milton qualified for the Lotsa Doodles calendar again, rather than the strictly Goldendoodles calendar.  This means that he received a quarter of a page, not a full spread.  I was really looking forward to seeing Milt Dog full-size but oh, well.

I cannot complain too much though; we did not put an awful lot of effort into the two photos that we submitted.  Last year, we had our good friend, Alicia, at Alicia Skinner Photography (She is absolutely marvelous if you live in the Dallas area!) take countless beauty shots, and this year we basically went rogue with two backyard shots, and goodness knows, we don't live in the majestic forests of British Columbia or beachside in Los Angeles.  We made do here in Dallas, Texas.

Here is our winning picture, which I am certain, many of you have seen before:

Mr. March!

Yes, Milton, just like last year, is Mr. March.  If you interested in purchasing a calendar (Don't if you are our parents!), please see the link below:


I like to buy one for home and a second for school, so I can be surrounded by the doodle love.  Well, I suppose, one doodle in particular...!

Happy Monday!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Puppy Photo of the Week

Happy Columbus Day, everyone!  This holiday has always held a special spot in my heart because in years past my birthday often fell on this day.  This year though my birthday was actually on a Tuesday, October 8th, to be exact.  We were fortunate to celebrate with Jeff's parents with a big fat red velvet cake lovingly baked by Momeaux, of course.

Milt's a blur reaching for that cake...!

It's hard to believe that I am actually 28-years-old now.  This was actually the first birthday where I woke up thinking, Ugh, I am two years away from 30...  My, my how time does fly; I've got to enjoy every minute!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Wet and Rainy

On Saturday evening, Jeff and his parents, along with extended family, watched Notre Dame play Arizona in Dallas.  I, however, did not join but instead stayed home to watch the boys -- Milton and Dusty, Pop and Momeaux's nine-year-old bichon frise.  He and Milt are not exactly the best of friends, but Milt does show Dusty some amount of respect, usually, because Dusty is his uncle, after all...

Well, while babysitting, I decided that the boys could use a good long walk to release some energy before night set in.  They were both more than willing to join me, so we set off on Milt and my usual route of three miles.  On the walk, Milt and Dusty were acting like their usual selves, sniffing here and there, marking street signs, tugging on me etc.  Things were going splendidly well until we reached the turn around point, and a torrent of rain began to fall from the sky.  Actually, at first it was a light drizzle, but then it quickly picked up to a full-on downpour. 

As you can image, Milt Dog was in his glory -- tilting his head skyward to catch rain in his mouth, prancing about, and looking up at me in sheer delight.  Dusty, on the other hand, lost the majority of pep in his step, and his little tail went from full-mast to half-mast very quickly.  Basically, Milt thought I was the best momma ever to disregard our safety and take them for a walk in a massive shower complete with thunder and lightning.  Dusty, I'm certain, had a different sentiment equating me to a mean, old witch, and he was all prepared to tattle on me to Momeaux, his real mom, when she arrived home later that evening.  Our goldendoodle did not help the situation at all because with rain comes fiestiness, and he thought this was the opportune time to run across leashes trying to engage Uncle Dusty in some play.

Upon return from our walk, all three of us were a sopping wet mess.

Poor little Dusty

Once we were no longer in the rain, Milt's joie de vivre faded a little bit.

I was quite drenched too...

Once back in our warm, cozy home, I thought we would all cuddle up and relax for the remainder of the evening, but, sadly no, all thanks to our goldendoodle.  A big problem arose when Dusty Dog set up camp on Milt Dog's bed immediately upon return.  All day long, prior to his, Dusty had laid on Milton's bed, and not once did Milton bat an eye.  Tonight, quite possibly due to his wet condition, Milton had enough of Dusty's selfish tendencies!  Milt preceded to bark at Dusty from the doorway of the foyer, again and again and again.  He was relentless.  At first I thought that our boy simply wanted Dusty to get up and play, so I let it persist.  When Dusty did jump up to bark at Milt and shoo him away, much spirited chasing around our coffee table ensued and a bit of nipping and snarling as well.  Subsequently, Milton received a timeout in the bathroom with all the lights off.

A stand-off

After the first time-out, Milton went back at it, and I was forced, following another uprising from Dusty, to give Milton a second time out.  Returning from this one and still continuing to bark, I knew their was a real reason for Milt's anger.

Both boys keeping their distance.

I finally figured out that Milton was not soliciting Dusty in some rowdy, wet play, but rather, he truly wanted his bed back, in a bad way, because he is the rightful owner, especially when he is soaking cold.  Milton was being more than a little rude to his guest, but he did have a valid point.  How was I to rectify this nasty situation?  Well, Momma Dog hauled Milt's back door guard dog bed all the way up front to appease both parties.

Note how Milton is giving Dusty the cold shoulder.

Now they're in a face-off.

Despite my best intentions, both boys were still displeased as they later moved on to higher, dryer ground.
Much better

Comfy, cozy

Needless to say, Milton was quite happy to wave goodbye to Dusty on Sunday afternoon.  Those two might be related, but they really can only handle one another in very small doses united by a common love of Momeaux...!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Puppy Photo of the Week

Pop and Momeaux visited us this past weekend, but their visit prior to that (You can tell how far behind I am with my posting!), they arrived with an extra-special gift.

Milt, despite sitting on Momeaux's lap, is apparently sulking in this photo.

Every time I think of the South, I envision magnolia blossoms, fried chicken, and yes, porch swings.  Now, I can say we are the proud owners of one.  Pop knew I had been wanting a swing since we bought this house, so he crafted it as a grand surprise for us!  These two consistently use their many talents, whether it be sewing, electrical wiring, baking, or carpentry to enrich our lives.  We are quite spoiled!  Jeff and I have spent many a happy time swinging back and forth on this beautiful piece of craftsmanship.  Milt, however, is always a little apprehensive about playing fetch with us sitting on it because, inevitably, he gets bumped once or twice in mid-swing.  Regardless, this swing is the perfect addition to our sweet Southern home; we couldn't be happier!

Friday, October 4, 2013

A Dollop of Humor!

If you are a frequent reader of my blog, you probably have been wondering, Where the heck is Goldilocks?  Well, I'll tell you where.  She has been lesson planning, grading, and, quite frankly, getting much too much little sleep since school kicked back in for the year.  Quite sadly, there never seems to be a free moment to do anything anymore.  Poor Milt Dog has been missing his momma, but he has been back in daycare, which, you know, he loves!

Recently while I was at school, holed up in my room working during my lunch hour, I checked my Gmail on my phone to see if there was anything necessary to be addressed.  I saw that I had received a Facebook alert that two photos had been posted of Milton at daycare.  You cannot believe how much Jeff and I love receiving these little snapshots of our boy in his "other life" that we know hardly anything about.  As I rushed to click over there, I was excited to see these two shots, but I was dismayed to read the captions.

Milton wants to play.

Maybe Judd will play with Milt...??

To a dog mom looking at these photos, while reading these captions, it appears that my goldendoodle, essentially, has no one to play with on the playground.  He has his ball in hand, or in this case mouth, and not a dog wants to jump in and join his game.  This particular dog, Judd, clearly seems pestered and disinterested as he gives Milt Dog the cold shoulder and walks away.  Believe me, when I saw this, I wanted to hop in my car right then and there, zoom all the way downtown, and scoop up my little boy to carry him home and be his best pal.  I realize this is somewhat illogical, but my heart went out to my doodle.

I know dogs aren't kids and kids aren't dogs, but sometimes the similarities are simply overwhelming.

Happy Friday, everyone.  Enjoy the beautiful fall season, and by that, I mean go indulge in some candy corn, especially the big pumpkin kind...!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Why Does Everything Always Happen to Us?

About a month ago, in the absolute heat of the summer, I was quite literally greeted at the door by this on my return home from yoga class!

Helping Daddy Dog

I do like to see Milt involved in Jeff's projects, but I realized that this project would soon involve me as well.  Since this was now post-yoga, 7P.M. on a school night, I was sweaty, ravenous, and anxiously overloaded with my own "homework" to accomplish.  I put all those selfish feelings aside, however, and I began flipping myriad switches all over the house to see if we could finally get our porch light to work.  This little house project has actually been a major source of contention for me because I have always felt like our house is a burglar target because we do not have a well-lit front stoop to scare unsavory characters away.  I guess my reluctant involvement was basically getting what I had asked for all these months -- a bright light.  Well, as you probably guessed, Jeff is not a trained electrician, and the light was not fixed that evening.

Then that Friday night, Milt and I arrived home from the dog park, and I was met with the same sight except this time Milt was uninvolved, and Jeff was perplexed.  Switches had been flipped and reflipped, but the porch light was still unworkable leading to immense frustration.  After about an hour inside our house, I knew something was disastrously wrong because I was sweating bullets indoors, and Jeff always has the air conditioning cranked up.  He thought the house was warm because of all the doors, plus our attic, being opened and closed.  When it was still 90 degrees inside after pumping the A/C at 72 degrees, we knew we had a catastrophe on our hands.  Jeff had blown out the circuit leading to our precious friend, the air conditioner.  You can only imagine the sweltering pain that was endured for the entire weekend.  Who suffered the most?  You got it -- our fur baby, Milton.

We called and called to desperately get an air conditioning repair person to our hot box as sweat dripped down our faces like we had just run a 5K (seriously).  When the repair man finally did arrive late Saturday afternoon, he informed us that we had an electricity problem on our hands, and he could be of no help.  Thus the calls to the electrician began who did not listen to our cries of "emergency," despite our ever present worry that we would die of the supreme 90+ degree temperature of our house!  Our little family of three sat in that heat for more than 72 hours.  You can only imagine how tempers flared in that unpleasant atmosphere.  We tried to keep our goldendoodle cool with a big fan and multiple wettings in the shower, which subsequently led to lots and lots of mats in his fur.  Milt Dog did manage to leave for a lot of Sunday to spend time with Daddy at the office, but he did throw up twice, and I do believe it was due to the heat.

Our air conditioning was finally fixed late Monday afternoon, and I couldn't have been happier!  Jeff and I, Milt especially, now have a new-found respect for  that blast of cool air that blissfully circulates throughout our old 1929 house.  I simply do not know how people, or dogs for that matter, ever lived without it.  The ironic part of this whole story is I am detailing it during our first Dallas cold snap, so it all seems like a dream now, but it truly is a nightmare that I will never forget and probably will retell at many a dinner party in years to come.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Puppy Photo of the Week

Monday morning.  This is how I often feel:

Falling out of bed...

Have a fantastic week, everyone!

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Dollop of Humor!

While pursuing Pinterest (one of my regular activities), I came upon this photo which reminds me oh so much of my Milt Dog:


We've all certainly been there, and it is unpleasant to say the least.  Although, good for dogs to have the gumption to really show how they feel.  I have been on many a run where I just wanted to dive onto someone's cushy grass and rest for a bit.  We have so much we can learn from canines!

Oh, wait, and another Pinterest find!

These guys are doodles, and I just had to include them!  Plus, you know I'm a sucker for some good dog shaming.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Friday, September 6, 2013

A Poignant Share

My good friend, Lindsay, recently shared this New York Times article with me.  Lindsay and I have had frequent discussions regarding the inevitable, impending (not yet, thankfully!) deaths of our dogs.  We are morbidly saddened that our puppies, whom we have raised like babies, will not grow nearly as old as we will.  For me, I always imagine Jeff and I sitting side by side in a nursing home with good old Milt sprawled out between us.  I know, however, unless he is a modern-day miracle, that this is merely an imaginative fancy, and his life is much more futile than that.

It is difficult to come to terms with this though because Milton is the one who tirelessly cheers me up with his licks, cajoles me into endless hours of play, and is uncontrollably happy to see me no matter how little or long I have been away.  He's my main dood.  Why wouldn't he be around forever?

If you want to read a good piece of writing, check out the article:  On the Road to Bliss by Tatjana Soli.  If you too have a four-legged baby at home, you may tear up a bit, but remember at the end of it all, It is better to have loved than to have never loved at all.

Milt and my mom, circa summer 2012

This picture is an oldie but goodie.  I am currently at home in New York visiting my mom for a few days, so I thought it was a sweet memory.  My how my boy has grown...!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


What is a Wubba one might ask?  A Wubba is a toy that replaces a tail-less raccoon and a snout-less pig.  Believe it or not, we are still pulling toys from Milton's birthday stockpile.  Wubba, a Kong toy, was a gift from Milton's biggest dog blog fan, Queen Goob!  We actually have been saving this one for quite some time because it is sturdy and well-made.  Wubba has quickly skyrocketed to the top of Milt Dog's list of toy favorites.  Did I mention Wubba squeaks?

A boy and his Wubba

Mischievous look

Tight grip

Hauling Wubba around

A playful taunt

Milt, Momma, and the Wubba

How Kong came up with the name of "Wubba," I have absolutely no idea.  To me, it sounds like a little kid's "blankie" or "binkie."  If you think your puppy may need a toy of this caliber, check it out here:
http://www.kongcompany.com/products/for-dogs/wubba/  We are hopeful that this toy will last our goldendoodle a good long time although he is already less one ear.

Poor dear Wubba...