Monday, January 4, 2010

A new year begins

Look at our beautiful family!
Our holidays were nice...really nice. Kellie, Paul and Mayson came by on Christmas Eve, and they had a chance to visit with James and Amanda, too. It was wonderful having the girls, sons-in-law, grandson, friends and pups all together on Christmas Day. We had lots of laughter, good food and genuine affection flowing through the day. As Jenny pointed out, it made Mark's absence more profound, yet we all know he was there with us. It would have been nice to have him in person with that wonderful smile. I miss him.

Logan has grown some impressive muscles and was more than happy to show me. Rest assured I feel much safer knowing how strong he is! He also had a lot of other things to tell me. Gosh, how I love that little guy.

Amanda and James received a special gift from Jenny--bride and groom Christmas ornaments. They are great. A frog bride and a frog groom! One of Mark's favorite songs was "I'm in love with a big blue frog."  Peter, Paul and Mary, I believe. Seeing those ornaments brought back happy memories. Seeing Amanda and James happy and settled is nice, and hearing them talk about baby preparations made everyone smile. There is an ultrasound scheduled for the 14th, so perhaps we'll know the gender by then. Healthy is all that matters.

On Christmas Eve, Jenny suggested a new tradition, and it was a blast. Jen, Paul, Amanda, James, Kate, Logan, Zeke, Caleb and I gathered together and walked the 3-mile loop around Town Lake. It was extremely cold with gusting wind, but we laughed and talked the entire time. Afterward, we went to Torchy's Tacos and ate outdoors around the firepit. We think we want to make this a regular activity for Christmas Eve. No matter what we do, Jenny finds a way to make everyone laugh!

Sarah Rothband Rosanky, my best friend since early high school, came over on Christmas Day. It was fun to have her there, and she really enjoyed seeing all of the girls and Logan. In fact, that was her first introduction to James, and she hadn't seen Logan in a long time. We couldn't resist a photo op!

I wrote earlier about Pearl's passing. As with any loss, it takes time to adjust. Little Iris is lost without her. She'll be coming to work with me a lot these next couple of weeks, and that will ease the transition. It's part of life, but it is hard not to feel sorry for Iris when she goes running in my studio for her snuggles and Pearl is no longer there.  
Caleb and Zeke appear to know...somehow they just seem to understand.  Here is a moving photo I took of Caleb snuggled up to Pearl just a day before she passed.

Caleb and I completed a condensed puppy class especially designed for rescues. Aside from meeting other people and their pups, it was helpful having the classes in a compressed time. Caleb seemed to enjoy it and thrived in the atmosphere. He was, of course, the star of the class, and the trainer used him for most of the examples. With the unusually laid back personality, everyone was taken to him and it was easy to teach new commands. One of our classmates, Amanda, called him a rock star!

This coming Sunday, Zeke and I begin Agility II. I'm always amazed when I watch that beautiful Border Collie at work. He watches me continually only wanting to please. Zeke is a special companion, and we do exceptionally well at outdoor activities. Sunday mornings at the Mannix Center will provide welcome doses of calm reinforcement for Zeke, and I always enjoy being there!

Over the past year, I have transformed the clean, simple, succulent planting beds in the front yard to a lush butterfly garden. There are some additions I want to make, but I'm quite pleased and my neighbors have been thrilled. The strip of lawn on the left side of the driveway has been primarily bermuda grass and weeds. I'm planning to cultivate that into a vegetable and herb garden. It would be healthy and beneficial to have fresh herbs and veggies on hand. The back yard, with the 2 large pecan trees, doesn't get enough sun. Plus, can you imagine how much fun Caleb would have with vegetable plants?  I'll begin simply and expand as time and energy permit.
 This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun, and all the animals. ~ Walt Whitman ~