double thumbs up

1011_alfrescodinner2 On Tuesdays and Thursdays Callum stays late at school for play practice. I pick him up at 5:30, and by the time we get home he's ravenous. On these nights Neel comes home before us, and (if I leave detailed instructions) he finishes up dinner to have it ready and waiting. Last night (leftover taco soup and salad), we came home to this lovely surprise on the new, almost-done patio. Dinner al fresco! I couldn't ask for anything more.





For the evening's entertainment, we have...

1011_alfrescodinner6 three hounds. Looking out instead of in for a change. And so put-out and forlorn! They kept us laughing the whole meal. Get a load of all those spider webs, would you? Fall's a-coming, I tell you. Neel's patio rocks.

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not today

Callum&Violet This little boy is so sad today and is driving us crazy in need of extra snuggles. He and Neel were meant to do their annual ski day (It's spring break.), but Callum has a crummy cough, and Neel and I couldn't countenance speeding down the slopes in that condition. So extra snuggles today and Neel and I are scrambling to readjust our (my) schedules while Callum heals and we aim for Thursday.

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about that glow

IMG_8317 Our family room, which is also our kitchen, is the coldest room in our house. The room where we spend 90% of our time is downright chilly in the winter. We joke that we heat our house along the lines of drafty Britsh coutry homes (circa WWII), but the tall French doors, which I love, don't contain the little heat that we do have.

I've been angling for one of those sweet electric fireplaces, but Neel is having none of it. Instead he dragged out our old kerosene heater and fired that puppy up. It's the kerosene heater from his childhood. From the drafty old house he grew up in. And let's face it, despite how ugly it may be, that thing is a dream.

IMG_8322 It casts a lovely glow and heat around the room, and we feel quite toasty cozied up around it. The dogs, as you can see, were wary at first. Lucy, poor Lucy, is wary of everything. She's the most skittish beagle you'll ever meet.

IMG_8323 Thea Turbo McFatty had different plans. She loves the heat, and she is unafraid. The first night we had it out, she watched it from the safety of her bed; every clatter of the heater's handle had her ears alert. By the second night, she was asleep with her head on its base. Toasty.

Still, I haven't given up on my hope for a fireplace. You knew that, right?

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hounds about town

IMG_8286 On gorgeous fall Sundays, we all spend a lot of time outside.

IMG_8281 Every time one of us steps outside, they feel the need to put on a show.

IMG_8293 Let's face it, they do it all the time, anyway.



IMG_8297 Thea looks like she's laughing her dang fool head off.

IMG_8290 Violet's a lover, not a fighter.

IMG_8306 Break's over.  We joke that Violet is the hardest working dog in show business.  She takes her duties very seriously and clearly feels more comfortable controlling the perimeter than cavorting with those other two bozos.

IMG_8307 Thea's ready to rest, however.

IMG_8309 Violet, listen to your mother.

IMG_8310 But Lucy's a restless soul.


IMG_8313 D.O.D. Dogs on Duty.  The trick is to make it look like you're resting.


IMG_8324 Lucy and Thea cave pretty sharpish.  Violet has everything under control.

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So when I came inside from chatting with some friends on the block last night, Neel was leaning against the living room wall where our eventual doorway is going to go.  "Hi!" He said cheerily.

And then he moved his head.

IMG_6174 See that little hole?

IMG_6150 See that hole? 

IMG_6166 And that one?  That's on the kitchen side, so I I knew we were going for it, just not so soon.



Just as I got used to that little hole...



IMG_6207 They kept going.

IMG_6208 Good-bye wall.  Hello doorway.

The dogs are worried, the mess is unbelievable, and I had a hard time concentrating on Top Chef Masters, but they did it.

IMG_6215 Lucy kept going around the corner, getting surprised and barking at the gaping hole in the wall, but Violet fits right in!

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sick bay

Well it turns out I had the flu.  We seem to have knocked it back to a glancing blow, and I'm down to a gnarly cough and resultant diaphragm pain and deadening fatigue.  I plan to go to work today, but I haven't quite worked out how I'm going to manage the drive.  I'm convinced I never would have gotten so well so fast without some tremendous help.

IMG_1855 Nurses Violet, Lucy and Thea now reporting!  (Not pictured, Nurse Turbo McFatty Thea, on duty at the foot of the sofa.)

IMG_1854 Hop to, Nurse Lucy!  (It's her third 11-7 shift in a row, and she's feeling the effects.)

IMG_1858 We're all pretty worn out, actually.

IMG_1861 Nurse Violet is steady-as-she-goes, though.  She's offered to take a double shift, if it means she doesn't have to move.

Photo credits to Neel, who I'm sure, would want me to point out the Eagles cap.  He said it would keep me warm, and I said, "Like it helped them win?"  I had to wear my own cap today.

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three bad dogs


They're pretty cute, huh?


Pretty guilty, I'd say.

We really had this escape-business resolved.  Good dogs, one and all.  Violet and Thea are the worst.  Lucy has been so good.  She'll even tell us if the other two get out. 

Not today.  These three broke, and I say that literally, through the bottom panel of our fence into the worst possible, most inaccessible, the world's-a-scary-place place.  Damn dogs.  So here I am, yelling, yelling, yelling.  Down on my knees, peering through the broken fence as they run and frolic in the backyard behind ours.  Aside from the fact that I'm still in my jammies, I can't get there from here. 

Thea comes back.  Back through the breach, and submits to me (and well she should).  Violet and Lucy still running and they will not come.  The lady in the house whose yard they're so enjoying calls to me from her doorway,  "The little one is here, but I don't know where the other one went." 


So I bring Thea in, run to the car (did I mention that I'm in my jammies?) and drive around the block to find both Lucy and Violet trotting down the street towards me.  I open the car door and right away Lucy jumps in.  Violet seems hesitant but is near enough for me to grab her collar, and in she goes as well.

My mouth was dry, my heart pounding and here they are, wag, wag wag and wreathed in doggie smiles.  So much for my restful morning at home.


Can you believe they are still asking to go out?

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sick bay

Well Violet and Thea had a little...ahem...procedure done today.  You know, the removal of their lady parts. And now everyone is draped over a loved one and languishing. All is well, but much love and extra kisses are definitely prescribed.  Keeping them quiet tonight is no problem, but how the heck are we going to keep them quiet tomorrow?

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the house at pooh corner

I know you probably don't care much about what I've been up to this week.  I'm sure everybody is wondering how the girls are all getting along and settling in.


So far, things are going pretty well.

I have a lot to learn, I know, about the politics of a multi-dog house.  Dare I say a multi-bitch house?  Present company excluded, of course.  But we are very proud of our girls and how well they are seem to be adjusting to life together.  I've told several people now that we have a shake-down of characters from Winnie-the-Pooh.


Lucy is Tigger.  Bouncy, bouncy, bouncy, bouncy, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun.   I worried about her adjustment the most, even though I knew she was lonely.  But she's held her own.  Our first born pup, Phoebe was so old when Lucy-Goosey moved in, that she was no real companion for our little beagle pup.  Every morning when I'd get up early, early, Lucy would come downstairs with me and chase a ball or a bone or a decapitated squeaky toy from room to room.   Only when the other girls got here did I realize that she was probably waiting for that toy to chase her back.


Now she has Violet.   Lucy and Vi have really bonded and they play just the way Lucy and her tennis ball used to.


Violet is our little Piglet.  "I'm a very small dog, you know, " she reminds us continually.   She is a sweet, wee little peanut. 


I mean look at that face.  Impossibly sweet.  She reminds me of a Steiff stuffed animal.  Except her theme music is from The Great Escape.  This very small dog (you know) has been very big trouble.  Oh but she loves you so much, all she wants to do is snuggle.  And kiss you.  And snuggle some more.  Except she's just very curious about what's on the other side of the fence.  Our very own Pokey Little Puppy.  She seems very confident and self-assured.  I don't know what it is about Lucy that makes us think she's looking around to say, "Is this how we do it guys?"  Not Violet.  She knows the score.  If she doesn't like how things are going down (Lucy and Thea's scraps were troubling to her at first), she'd just get up and leave.  Hang out in her crate.  But mostly she's happy.  Her whole body wiggles when she wags her tail.  And she'll put her paws up on her mom or Lucy's back if she's trying to get a little taller.  Have to get a picture of that sometime.  I keep trying.


Thea cracks me up because she is so serious.  She's our Rabbit.  Bossy and, well, bossy.  I don't know anything about the Welsh national character; she strikes me as more German.  Life is work.  And she's regal too.  When they got here, she jumped on the sofa and said, "Madame may be served her dinner now."  When Team Squirrel springs into action, Thea is very focused.  The first off the starting block as they all scamper outside.  While the little girls play and bounce and chase about the back yard, Thea will watch from the porch. 


I love this picture because she looks almost lighthearted.  Almost.  She's not.  We had dinner by the fire Saturday night, and Thea is not lighthearted about food.  She knows her way around a kitchen and a dining room, and she works hard in both places.  She disdains toys, she never smiles, she's even been known to frown upon a milkbone.  She reminds me of Mrs. Fisher in Enchanted April.  All Thea wants to do is be left alone and think of better times and better men.

It's hard work on all of these girls running this house.  Still, I think they'd all say they landed some place soft.


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