Sunday, June 29, 2014

Super Sunday!

I promised Jeff that I would post a picture every single day this summer, and I already missed yesterday -- Spectacular Saturday (These days of the week labels are beginning to remind me of a pack of little kid's underwear.)!  I do have an excuse though.  I am sick.  Yesterday I came down with some sort of rogenbogen, as my mom would say.  I tried to google this word, but, curiously, nothing turned up!  Regardless, I feel  bad, and I think Jeff will understand.

Secret spot

When it gets too hot on the deck, this is where the Milt Dog likes to sit -- under the table in his little cave.  After another runaway incident at the lake yesterday, Milton has been spending more and more of his time in close vicinity under his Momma's eye.  I think Jeff is beginning to regret that he let me take our goldendoodle for the summer.  Discipline is not my strong suit, and this guy's been a little hellion on four-legs since he got here!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Fabulous Friday!

One early concern about summering in New York was that my mom does not have a fenced in yard, and I was none too keen on the possibility of our Milton wandering off.  Upon arrival, however, we noticed that when Milton was let outside off leash, he always stuck very close to the house, which I attributed to his loyal goldendoodle attributes and his time spent hunting at the land with Pop.  With the house situated down a long drive from a major road, surrounded by woods on three sides, and the lake on the fourth, I felt very confident allowing Milton to be basically loosey goosey when let outside.  I might have been a bit overzealous with this idea...

Yesterday, however, Milt Dog lost this honored privilege specifically because he has a penchant for ducks.  Yes, those quackers.  They will undoubtedly lead to his undoing one day.  When Milton is let outside, he will quite often scamper down to the lake and return with wet paws and chicken legs.  If I let him out, and frenzied barking, quacking, and a giant splash ensues, I know that the dood is in hot pursuit of a flock of mallards.  There is actually one particular mother duck with a whole brood down by our dock, and when Milton nears, she will noisily paddle in one direction, creating a distraction, while urging her ducklings to take the opposite route, which will cause Milt, every single time, to race down the beach after the mom, who will inevitably begin to fly further out into the water, forcing Milton to swim after her.

Normally, this is not too terrible of a situation because our cove is rather deserted (lots of retirees and summer homes), but this time, our playful goldendoodle ran off with his bright green tennis ball jammed in his mouth and stopped to visit a house of nearby summer renters.  He ran out on their dock and demanded to play ball.  As one of the renters explained to me, "I tried to get him to go back home by throwing the ball onto your property, but he just kept bringing it back to me!"  Lady, that is called "fetch."  What did you expect him to do!?  After I hauled Milton back over into our yard, he immediately returned to their dock to continue the game.  The underlying problem here is that Milt used to come racing when I called for him down at the lake, and now he does not.  Sad but true.

Rapunzel in his tower.

Well, after yesterday's incident, mean Momma broke out the yellow lead line, and Milton the wanderlust was banished from the water for the remainder of the day.  He was none too happy about this and spent the majority of his time brooding on the deck or inside sulking on his bed.  I know puppies will be puppies, but Milt's safety is a priority, and a rowdy, wet dog disturbing the neighbors never turns out well...

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Thankful Thursday

All day yesterday it rained, and rained, and rained some more.  A drizzle in the fall or spring isn't so bad, but when you have a heavy downpour on a warm summer day, it is a, to write like I speak, big bummer.

Milt likes the process of getting wet rather than being wet.

We were flexible though.  The day started off with some housewarming baking.

Milt stays close during cooking -- He thinks you should continuously lick up as you go.

Pumpkin banana muffins!

Blondies - best recipe ever - Blondies, Infinitely Adaptable

Well, you certainly can't bake all day long.  It got a bit boring after that, especially since the rain postponed our normal morning walk.


Later that afternoon, we finally snuck in a walk, but then we were back to trapped in the house.  By evening, our goldendoodle needed some more exercise since Mom and I had plans to see Mary Poppins at our local theater.   Being a good Momma, I threw on a rain jacket and lobbed a bunch of balls off the dock for Milt.  We always end our ball throwing sessions with a romp in the yard, and this is when our day finally got a little interesting.

After a particular toss, Milton emerged from the woods with a certain lightness about him - a skip in his step, a twinkle in his eye, a proud prance, really a joie de vivre, if you may.  If you are a dog owner, you can probably guess what comes next.

It honestly looks like something you would buy in one of those mega-Halloween stores that pops up around the holiday.

Yup, a dead something or other.  It was quite possibly the grossest thing I have seen in at least the past maybe five or so years.


Milt, of course, did not understand what the big fuss was all about.  Momma screaming, "Yucky!" at the top of her lungs after he found such a treasure seemed awfully odd to him.  Then since Daddy Dog is obviously not around, the disposal of this rotting corpse fell to me.  It was time to get the shovel.  That's when you know it is serious.  This was not your average dead fish that you could scoop up with a plastic grocery bag.  Oh, no.  This was heavy duty.  I only like to use a shovel on, let's say, a snowy Christmas morning.  Other than that, I have zero use for one.  As I was simultaneously scooping and gagging, Milton did another happy dance out of the bushes with the below. 

A pelvis and femur - I am positive - I got an up close view.

Both of these lovely animal pieces, I tossed into the woods.  The femur section actually got hung up on a tree, and I considered knocking it to the ground, but hanging in the tree might be best. When Mom asked me what type of animal the creature was, my reply was that it was larger than a squirrel but smaller than a raccoon.  Quite possibly, it could be a possum.  Those darn varmints must have followed us all the way up from Texas!

With all this rain, it is easy to feel downcast, but as someone recently reminded me, "The flowers need rain."  Yes, that is certainly looking on the bright side of things, and as I always tend to remind Jeff and myself, "Place rose colored glasses on your nose.  And you will see the robins.  Not the crows" (Chicago).  On that positive note, when will this residual stink of death leave Milt's curls?  Hopefully (Note the positivity there?), soon.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Whimsical Wednesday

After Grand Nan witnessed this blatant act of disrespect on her king-size bed...

Naughty AND wet goldendoodle since he had just taken a dip in the lake!

she decided to throw the dog a bone.  

What a caring grandma.

Blankets on the couches -- It's like Animal Farm over here.  We're going to the dogs!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Terrific Tuesday

Well, Milt found his favorite spot in the house which just so happens to not be my Mom's favorite spot for him in her house.

To mimic what my dad always used to say, "I'm a big guy."

If you hadn't already guessed, Milton on the furniture at Mom's house has been a major reoccurring theme.  Really, I suppose, I am to blame because I jammed my little car sky-high with stuff, and that stuff did not include any of Milton's dog beds, selfish, I know.  I did, however, bring an old fleece crate liner and blankets, but he has clearly snubbed his nose at that; our goldendoodle is a bit fussy.  Oh, bother.  The best part of all of this is watching my petite mother attempt to haul the big boy off the couch by gently grabbing his collar and stating, "Down, Milton, down" -- priceless, like that would ever work...

Monday, June 23, 2014

Marvelous Monday

Summer vacationing, especially with a lake and two acres within paws' reach, can be an awful lot of fun, but it does have its drawbacks, namely that it is rather challenging to find "sweet spots" -- those perfect places to nap -- around the house.  Milt has really had some difficulty with this adversity, and after almost two weeks here, I think he is finally beginning to sort it all out.  One sleeping spot was the below:

The coat closet

Surrounded by shoes is probably a bit too tempting for our goldendoodle despite his iron-willed self-control.  Since then, Milt has found a few more comfortable resting areas, but nothing really compares to his three beds at home in Dallas.  Comfort is a priority for Milt, so Mom and I have been doing our very best to make certain that he feels accommodated.  When a dog has two grown adults jumping through hoops, you know that you have got the puppy love bad.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sunday Fun Days!

The ferns at my mom's house are tantalizing to both Milt and me.  Currently at our Dallas home, we are attempting to grow about five ferns (not nearly enough!) as shade plants in our side yard in an effort to soak up some of our mud.  Unfortunately, the ferns are not growing terribly quickly, and I always used our ferns in New York as a model, but I quickly forget that these are at least 40 years of growth planted by my grandmother.  Oh well, I guess time does eventually pass, but with gardening, I am always looking for that instant gratification which never does seem to arrive!

Milt collecting his ball from a cool respite.

I am enamored by this lush photo of Milton the Goldendoodle because it reminds me of a famous line from a William Wordsworth poem: "Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendour in the the grass; of glory in the flower."  To follow this poem's advice and a page from Milton's life -- Take time for simple beguilement, and if you find yourself someplace wonderful, linger and enjoy it.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Dog Days of Summer!

As I shared in yesterday's post, my husband, Jeff, and I will be spending this summer apart -- South/North-style.  That being said, I am a little bit nervous that he will miss out on some integral memory-making moments with our big furry goldendoodle.  When I decided to stay in New York for the summer, the topic of Milton was up for discussion.  Me, being rather selfish, declared that Milton was, of course, joining me on summer vacation.  Then I backtracked and thought of my poor dear husband twiddling his thumbs alone in our little brick house in the heat, so I graciously offered him the dood for entertainment and cuddling purposes.  This is what I got in reply -- "Oh no.  You take him.  I want to be footloose and fancy-free."  Uh huh.  In my head, I am thinking, What the heck is that supposed to imply?  Well, the Milt Dog is with me, and he is having an absolute ball!

Beginning today, the very first day of summer, I will post a daily photo of our Milton, to mark the passage of the season and so Jeff will not forget the particulars of Milt's handsome face.  That being said, the photo[s] will be short, sweet, and occasionally accompanied by a whimsical story -- the type of story that only long sunny days with a wet dog produce.

Uncle Steve and Aunt Corey took the Milt on a boat ride upon arrival to the lake -- Wind washing over wet curls -- enjoyable!

To you, my Jeffery, "A photo a day keeps the drearies away."  For the multitude of other readers out there, enjoy the Milt's summer montage.  Happy, Happy Summer to one and all!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Expedition to the North

When I was a kid, if my parents mentioned the words road trip, a scowl instantly appeared on my face.  These words would have implied a trip to visit relatives either in New Jersey or Maine, and although I love my family, spending countless hours trapped in a car was sheer torture, especially because I had a history of throwing up in them.  Since moving to Texas, however, road trips have become a fixture in my life, whether it be driving six hours to Louisiana to visit Jeff's parents or twenty-five hours up to New York to visit mine!  It doesn't matter; I actually value time spent in the car with Jeff and Milt, and I still do love my Dairy Queen Blizzards.

This summer I made the monumental decision to leave my darling Jeffery at home and to take the boy and run!  In other words, Jeff drove his lovely wife and sweet goldendoodle all the way up North to safely deposit them for the entire summer (two whole months!) with his mother-in-law.  We did this long haul before, and it was not the most enjoyable experience, despite a night with relatives, because we conquered the mileage in two days, which made for two very long days.  This time I really wanted to explore a bit more, so we plotted out an interesting route, including a couple of quintessential Southern cities, although it was not the most direct route as many people chose to point out to us as if we didn't already realize that...!  We chose to take a five-day jaunt, or rather journey, with a night outside of Atlanta with my family, next stop Savannah, followed by Charleston, and last Richmond before arriving in New York.

I am not much for scrapbooking, and I rarely develop photographs unless I plan to frame a particular one, so I really do enjoy documenting our travels on Goldilocks & Her Doodle.  Some day I would actually love to print the many posts from this blog and bind it together in a book, so for now, enjoy this picture tour of our grand adventure!

The Dogs

The first leg of our trip was the longest with a straight shot of eleven hours to reach my Aunt Carol and Uncle Jimmy's house outside of Atlanta, Georgia.  That was a bit much for the three of us, so we broke it up by eating lunch in Jackson, Mississippi.  I searched and searched online, particularly on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, to find the perfect lunch spot (I really wanted Southern food.), but, surprisingly, many home cooking restaurants were closed on Saturdays, so we settled on Rooster's, a hamburger joint, which was really quite pleasant; I still need to add all of my official reviews to Yelp!

Quick pit stop for lunch!

Cheeseburger on a jalapeno cheddar bun with mac & cheese -- May I be bold to say -- Everything is better with cheese and on a boat!

Quaint main street -- It looks like the set of a 1950's movie.

The gold roof of the capital amongst the trees

Continuing on, we traversed across the fine state of Alabama -- my first time ever!  Since we were due at my Aunt Carol and Uncle Jimmy's house for dinner, we did not have time to stop and visit Birmingham, but we did satisfy Jeff's desire to take a quick drive through Tuscaloosa.  Those of you who are college football fans might know why...

We needed (probably Jeff's one wish on this trip) to see the stadium of the Alabama Crimson Tide -- Roll Tide!

After five hours, we finally reached Aunt Carol and Uncle Jimmy's beautiful home in the Georgia countryside.

Dinner with the fam -- The highlight was a chocolate chip cookie tasting contest!

I suppose Diesel is Milt's second cousin.

Breakfast with even more family -- How nice!

After we said some sweet goodbyes and grateful thank yous, we were on the road again!

A sweet little face peeping out while we pump gas.

It was a solid four-hour drive from Atlanta on over to Savannah.  Once we arrived, we immediately checked into our hotel, so we could unpack all of our valuables (laptops, basically) and my massive suitcase.  La Quinta was our hotel of choice on this trip because they allow dogs without an additional pet fee, which is always nice.  We actually booked all of our hotels through Bring Fido.  This was an invaluable resource for our trip because we could plug in our destination city and all of the dog-friendly hotels, restaurants, attractions, etc. would pop up.  The best part was that we actually got the lowest rate (generally $70) booking through them rather than directly through La Quinta.  Next time you are planning a journey with your pup, definitely visit this website.  

Not too shabby
Milt tends to blend in.

Upon arrival, we relaxed a long while in the cool air conditioning because driving in the heat with Milton cooped up in the back seat can be unpleasant at times, so we hit the town  late (4P.M.), which was quite characteristic of this trip.  One of the main attractions in Savannah is River Street, so we toured there first.

Beautiful staircase to reach the water

Ambling along

These riverboats always remind me of Gone with the Wind - The entire trip did actually.

A stop to read some history

A stop for me to pose - I was getting a bit fed up with being the sole photographer with no documentable presence on trips.

Candy shop -- ideal!

I went into the shop first while Jeff waited outside with Milton, and I picked up two, exactly two, pieces of taffy for us to try, but then I thought Jeff might want to have a look around, and, of course, he wandered out with a whole bag full of taffy plus pralines!

Lots of yummy flavors to choose from, and normally, I am not a fan of taffy, but I really enjoyed sampling these.

Making the taffy to the left and praline formation in the foreground.

So many shops in Savannah were dog friendly, which was just amazing!  It was so nice for all three of us to be allowed to peruse a shop rather than one plus Milton being left on the doorstep.  A general rule of thumb is if a business sells food, then dogs are not allowed.  We were quite surprised though that a few food specialty shops, like nuts and honey, did, indeed, allow our four-legged friend inside.

We were a big fan of Savannah Bee, and we purchased multiple gifts there for upcoming birthdays.

Sometimes Milt does get a little goofy in shops, though, and Daddy Doggie doesn't help the situation too much...!

The very best part of Savannah was our pedicab ride that actually included Milton!  A few years ago my mom and I went on one throughout Central Park, and I absolutely loved this mode of transportation, so when I saw them offered in another city, I jumped at the idea!  The man we approached did not balk at all when we asked him to pedal the three of us about, so we paid him $25 for 30 minutes and hopped right in!

So much fun!

While biking about town and gazing upon Southern mansion after mansion, we heard some of the history of Savannah and the Civil War.  Unfortunately, since we had Milt with us, we were unable to take any official tours because we did not feel quite comfortable leaving our goldendoodle puppy uncrated in our hotel, but in each city we visit, we certainly took in the local culture and ate up!  After the pedicab ride, we relaxed at The Olde Pink House a delightful dinner recommendation from my cousin Peter.

A beautiful restaurant connected to Planters Inn.

Fried green tomatoes -- I have actually had quite a fixation on these since seeing the movie years ago.

Seafood pasta -- Jeff and I managed to split all of our meals on this trip, which was quite a change of pace for a non-sharer, like me.

Our evening also included another very special moment.

This is a selfie.  I am somewhat embarrassed to say we took one, but we absolutely had to because these were the benches in the park where Forest Gump sat with his box of chocolates!

The next morning Milt and I took off on a straight four-mile walk to River Street while Jeff finished up a few things and later met us.  The problem with arriving late to a one-night stay in a city is that you just don't have enough time to see everything!  I wanted to view the water and mansions just one last time.

Magnolia blossom

Attempting to beat the heat in a local fountain - We were not the only dog owners condoning this...!

We also just had to stop by Paula Deen's restaurant, The Lady and Sons, to pick up some lunch to go.  At first, we had our hearts set on a salmon BLT, but we, Jeff more so, were easily talked into getting their Southern buffet boxed up in multiple pieces of Styrofoam.  Cruising down the highway eating fried chicken is terribly messy yet satisfying.

The iconic storefront - While standing here, I texted a few people this picture to incite jealous...!

Inside the shop -- Jeff and I are actually not major Paula fans, but we did receive two of her Southern-style cookbooks for a wedding present, and it just seemed like the place to chow down in Savannah.

A biscuit and hoecake -- a Paula Deen specialty -- basically, a cornmeal pancake

Greasy fingers -- Jeff loved the chicken, but I actually prefer Bubba's in Dallas!

Mac & cheese and the veggies -- Jeff and I almost got into a brawl because he picked the veg without my input, and who picks boring old green beans when we could have been indulging in squash casserole!?

Butter cake -- My biggest takeaway of the meal was that Paula is apparently bananas over butter.

If you hadn't already guessed, this was a full-on gastronomical tour of the Eastern coast of the U.S. - yum!

One final stroll through the mossy squares

Back in the car again -- Some folks use the arm rest for their arm, but this one is just the perfect position for Milt's snout!

It was, thankfully, only a short two-hour drive to Charleston, South Carolina -- What a breeze!  This time we were too early to check into our hotel first, so we visited a fantastic local dog park -- James Island County Park.  Well, actually, we didn't just happen upon the dog park; it was in our plans thanks to Bring Fido!

A dog park with a lake -- What could be better?

This sign did not seem to deter either Milton or me from entering the water.

Beautiful lake complete with palm trees!

Happy as a clam

An entire two acres to run and play!

A little wet and cold upon check-in

Charleston was both Jeff and my favorite city by far!  It was so pleasant wandering through the adorable streets lined with beautiful houses by the waterside.

Fort Sumter in the distance to the far right -- Shots were fired there and began the Civil War.

Giant swings on the pier -- One, luckily, opened up just as I was walking by!

A massive fountain designed for playing in -- Unfortunately, no dogs allowed.

A piece of history -- See the below.

An entire street of pastel-tinted houses

I always admire bold colors.

Continuing to meander about...

Some more priceless history

Another respite in a downtown dog park -- We love them!

My boys

A beautiful scene

The Battery -- Jeff did not encouraging the snapping of any photos the entire trip, except for this one!

Both of us checking out the water.

Milt was just about ready to hop in!

Oh, to live in a pink house -- How delightful that would be!

Both Jeff and I were enamored by the ivy growth on the steps.

Another dog friendly locale with lots of water bowls sitting out and about! 

In both Savannah and Charleston, we paid a pretty penny to eat fancy dinners out because we wanted a real night to remember!  I suppose it is somewhat like One Night in Bangkok (We did that last summer!) but classier.

Highly recommend -- Poogan's Porch

Another house, now a restaurant, that I would not mind living in!

The restaurant was named after Poogan, a dog, whose owners moved, and he stayed behind to guard the house and eventually the restaurant.

She-crab soup crafted from the tender meat of the female crab.

Pimiento cheese fritters -- It is not every day that you get to sample these!

The classic shrimp & grits -- I had never tried this before, but Jeff said it was the best he ever tasted!

It was a long day!

Like Savannah, we felt the need to hit the town once again the following morning before departing.

We wandered through the City Market perusing the wares; halfway through, we realized that dogs were not allowed, and Milton was politely asked to leave.

Lots of eclectic arts and crafts, food specialties, and picturesque paintings!

We intended to rent beach cruisers for the morning, but with temps already in the 90s, we thought it was best to just hit the road for a six-hour drive to Richmond, Virginia, our final stopping point before New York.  One bright spot on this route was Wilmington, North Carolina, a gorgeous beach town that my brother Dave, who surfs there every year, insisted we visit.  Unfortunately, no dogs are allowed on the beach during the peak season, so we just viewed the splendor from afar.

We might have to return here one day.
We did break to eat in Wilmington, however.  We just had to try Carolina barbecue that places a lot of stock in vinegar.

Jeff googled around for the better part of an hour to ensure we picked the perfect BBQ restaurant.

The massive oak the restaurant was named after -- it was the perfect dining experience.

We arrived in Richmond past midnight, and we were on the road by 8A.M. the next morning.  After five days of travel, we were a bit impatient to arrive at our final destination!

The lake!

Milt's runway to the water


Home sweet home

Would we do it again?  Yes, oh yes!  Jeff and I, Milt too, had an absolute ball!  The only trouble is we are running out of fresh driving routes to New York.  I now have ambitious new ideas for road trips around the Pacific Northwest (Seattle, Portland area), which I have never visited, and New England (New Hampshire, Maine area) for Jeff to experience more of the northern East Coast. 

Jeff is now back home in Dallas, and Milt Dog and I are here in New York with Mom.  It should be a summer to remember although we are counting down the days until we see that Daddy Doggie again...!