Life Lately

  • First and foremost, a Trooper update.

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He is doing very well, and considers himself the house and grounds manager. Duties include ridding the yard of squirrels, ensuring no one goes down the street unnoticed, and giving tours of his toy stash. Meanwhile, his butt is as fluffy as ever.

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Life is good for this dog.

  • In other news, I had to say goodbye this week to my dear friend Sandy. She taught me to ride, french braid hair, and take life by storm. For her, there was no other way to live. (One of my favorite Sandy stories here.)

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  • Also, not to get too down in the dumps but I must give a shout out to Alan Rickman. Two of my favorite fictional characters always will be Colonel Brandon of Sense and Sensibility and Severus Snape of Harry Potter, and he did such an awesome job portraying them.

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“There will be no foolish wand-waving or silly incantations in this class.” (I can hear it now.)

  • Yep, Real Housewives is still my guilty pleasure. What are your thoughts on Erika Geradi of RHOBH? In all her glory and Chanel. I want to hear your thoughts. Do you love her? Hate her? Think she’s smart like Yolanda claims? She’s going to be divisive, this one.

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  • I’m halfway through Whole30 and wanting to die/also feeling great.

I can’t eat chocolate or bread. I have to say no to the big box of Frangos I got for Christmas and it’s killing me. But I must say, every time I look in the mirror I feel some satisfaction because not eating Frangos or other sweets is actually making a difference. Why does it have to be that way?

This may be a lifelong struggle but I know one thing: come February 3rd, I’m giving in.

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  • Speaking of sweets, how pretty are these “tub truffles”! A friend gave them to me for Christmas and they are almost too pretty to put in the bathtub. But the aromas are dreamy and they leave your skin feeling smooth as silk. (Find them here.)
  • In other news, I got my nieces matching leopard print pajamas for Christmas.

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Aren’t they dolls? They can always count on leopard print outfits from their Aunt Whitney.

  • I am still recovering from what will go down in history as The Christmas Puzzle From Hell, aka Thomas Kincaid’s Attack on My Sanity.

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This beast was 1,000 pieces, of which 99% were grey and splotchy. Even patient, brainiac Brandon thought it was difficult. I never want to see it again!

Despite the puzzle, Christmas was a delight, and we had our usual wonderful time playing with Trooper, competing in tennis, ending up in hysterical laughter, eating a lot of food, and surprisingly not having to fix mom’s TV. (That itself was a Christmas miracle.)

Here’s the fam out for my birthday.

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Brunettes do have more fun!

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Thanks for reading and following along on my adventures. If there’s any content you want to see, shout it out in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!

 

Beach Bums (of the Fluffy Variety)

My corgi Trooper loves the beach. He is a beach bum of the fluffiest variety.

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To him the beach means three things:

  1. Waves to bark at.

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2. Birds to bark at.

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3. Water to run in that is just at his height.

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And plenty of wide open space.

Trooper’s little heart sings a happy tune when he gets to go to the beach.

Last November we stowed him away in our hotel room at a really nice hotel (WHOOPS!) on a trip to Galveston for a friend’s wedding.

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He was one grateful pup.

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I’m pretty sure he rid Galveston Island of every pigeon and seagull that weekend.

Now, every time I see his paw twitch while he’s asleep, I just assume he’s dreaming of running on the beach.

 

Ruff Existence

I interrupt our regular programming to bring you this.

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And this.

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And this.

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Fact: I can not not take pictures of Trooper in this position.

I’m sorry if corgi pics do not interest you. Run far, far away from this blog.

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Sometimes when he lays like this, I think his bottom looks like an old cowboy’s mustache.

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The specific person that comes to mind shall remain nameless.

Corgis Swimming (Yes It’s Possible!)

I’m a corgi lover. It’s the truth. I’m currently on my third one, and I still have yet to get over their cuteness. I’m convinced that if I was a character in Harry Potter, my patronus would be a corgi. As a corgi owner, I often get asked, Can corgis swim? 

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The answer, which surprises most people, is yes! They’re quite good at it, actually. If you haven’t already read the story of my first corgi jumping in a pond as a puppy, here it is. While long legs may have been bred out of corgis over the years, a love for the water apparently has not.

Disclaimer: I wouldn’t send a corgi out into a strong current, or expect them to have the stamina of labs. Lifejackets help!

Trooper has a love-hate relationship with the water. He will gladly belly flop in a river and swim in a wide arc before returning to the shore. But on the other hand, he barks like a maniac when anyone gets near water, as if he’s trying to say “DON’T GET IN THERE IT’S DANGEROUS!” He’s confusing.

But he’s so darn cute!

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Where are his legs? I can’t even see them.

(Imagine mass hysteria of barking in this picture below.) Dad! I told you not to get near the water! Now you threw that stick and I’m going to have to go get it!

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Don’t worry, I can get it dad! I can bring it back!

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I got it, Dad. This stick is really big, by the way. It’s kind of heavy.

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Hey Tyler, watcha doin?

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Oh you guys are just gettin’ a beer? Ok…

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Will someone please throw a stick out here?

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Anyone? No?

Ok well I’m gonna go chase after that leaf that’s going downstream.

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I think it got away. It was moving really fast.

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I’ll get the next one.

Hey buddy, watcha got there? That looks like a fun toy.

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Can I play?

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YAY!!! Mommy tossed me a tennis ball. I gotta bring it back to shore for her. I can barely keep my head above water but I gotta take her this tennis ball.

Moral of the story: YES, corgis can swim. I hope you enjoyed this dose of corgi cuteness brought to you by the Corgi Lovers Association of America. (That’s not a real organization…YET. If someone wants to help me start it, I’m down.)

Dog Days of Summer

There were lots of dogs at the Greenbelt yesterday.

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Lots of big dogs, several funny looking dogs, and some pocket-sized dogs, all of them wet dogs running around like banshees. One thing you can count on with this many dogs in one place is a lot of bottom sniffing. Once again, I’m reminded of why I appreciate being human and not canine.

These dogs could not be happier to be in the water!

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A trip to the Greenbelt usually means “best day ever” for dogs. With so much to sniff, so many trails to follow, so many places to swim, and no need to be on leashes (that policy seems to be suspended), this park is dog heaven.

Some dogs express their love for swimming by gleefully doggy paddling around, chasing after tennis balls and frisbees. Some will get a running start and leap from cliffs, belly flopping into the water. But not our dog. Oh no. He insists on barking and yelping at the sight of anyone trying to enjoy a swim.

The moment you start to think about putting a toe in the water, he starts yelping at a decibel that makes everyone in the vicinity turn and look. Humiliation at its finest.

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Look at the pep in that dog’s step. He is so happy! How nice it must be to not have your dog bark at the sight of water.

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Instead of enduring this fear-invoked panic.

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If I were to wade out to where that woman is standing, my dog would be yelping so loudly that everyone would have packed up their things and headed off to find another swimming hole.

So for the sake of everyone around, I usually have to move on to another, more isolated patch of water.

However, there is one thing that makes his behavior somewhat less terrible:

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…and that is the especially fluffy butt he gets after shaking off.

It’s an hilarious sight. His furry little bottom is the last thing to stop shaking and as a result, it turns into a pom pom by the time he stops moving.

Trooper was told umpteen times yesterday that he was “sooo cute.” Indeed, his cuteness somewhat makes up for his behavior.

Until I figure out what to do about the barking issue I guess we will opt for the less crowded swimming holes.

Anyone want a free corgi?

Just kidding.

 

Two Tired Puppies

These puppies are tired.

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Just look at those droopy eyes.

They had a very big day of hiking at Pedernales Falls Saturday.

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There was always a new dog on the trail to sniff, plant to mark, buzzard to bark at, stick to chew and varmint to scare off.

If I had to sum up in one picture how I felt after our day hiking at Pedernales Falls, this would be it. I was beat. Unfortunately, no one wanted to carry me in their backpack.

Our Little Family

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It’s only March, but I think I’ve landed on our Christmas card for this year.

I also considered this one…

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But that would leave out Trooper, which wouldn’t accurately reflect the significant role he plays in our family.

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He’s my buddy. When I run errands, he rides shotgun. (Weather permitting.) When I eat, he gets a scrap or two. When I water the plants or refill the bird feeder, he stands guard in the yard. The yard is his domain. No creature enters the yard without first seeking his approval. No squirrel can dare consider setting a toe in our yard. No pecan can lie in peace, they all must be chewed. Every plant must be sniffed and tinkled on.

Of the three subjects in the photo below,

  • Two are very hairy.
  • Two are very loud.
  • Only one is obedient.
  • One has a best friend named Mabel.
  • Two have short legs.
  • One likes cats.
  • One is a neighborhood celebrity.
  • One has been on the nightly news.

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Do you know which is which?

I’ll give you a hint: neither Brandon nor I have been on the nightly news.

A very early Merry Christmas everybody, from our little family.

Field Fashion Friday: Doggie Edition

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Ruffwear Bark’n Boots Grip Trex Dog Boots, $70, rei.com.

Since I’m always trying to think of a way to make Trooper more comfortable, I’ve decided to devote this field fashion Friday to keeping his paws sticker-burr free.

While out running errands yesterday, I saw these cute booties at REI and liked the durable feel of their grippy soles and quality material. I decided this was good enough for even my dog.

Whenever we’re on the farm, Trooper has to stop and dig them out before continuing on his various missions, most of which have to do with squirrels and other rodentia.

Seventy dollars may be a significant amount to spend on shoes for a dog. But I gave up on the idea of not spoiling Trooper a long time ago.

I mean…that face.

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I just can’t say no.

But here’s a less expensive version as well: Target dog boots.

Trooper just LOVES wearing outfits (or not) so we’ll see how he takes to shoes…

 

Not a paid advertisement. Just me sharing what I like.

No Rest for the Herding Dog

1. Put chair in river.

2. Sit down.

3. Don’t move a muscle.

This was my M.O. over the weekend.  I alternated between a hammock and a chair in the river.  About as labor-free of a Labor Day as they come. At least it was for me. Not for Trooper. I’ll get to that in a second.

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Sitting in a hammock on a summer day: it’s as American as apple pie. And it would be a great addition to this Real Simple’s  71 Solutions to Make Every Morning Easier.

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We were on the Guadalupe at my family’s house on the Guadalupe, which my mom built a couple decades ago on a very steep cliff.  It’s where I have spent many a summer day.

Because of her decision to build a house on a cliff that no one else has dared build on, the river house is a total escape from the rest of the world. No neighbors are next to us–their houses are at the top of the cliff.  And we don’t even have internet.  The most advanced piece of technology in the house is a VCR.  And that hasn’t been considered advanced for at least 20 years.

Weekends at the river are always relaxing for us,  but unfortunately not for our poor dog.

First, there are always birds circling the treetops, and Trooper feels strongly about protecting us from them.

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He keeps watch 24/7 at this door or on the balcony, and goes bonkers if the birds get too close for his comfort. The hawks and vultures have selected the end of our roof as their daily perch, and they like to swoop in for a landing right in front of Trooper on the balcony. It gives poor Trooper heart palpitations and sometimes I wonder if they do it just for fun.

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While we have a relaxing dinner, he doesn’t even have time to beg from the table–he’s busy keeping lookout.

Not only does he have to worry about the birds while we’re in the house, he has to monitor all of the squirrels (SQUIRRELS I tell you!) on either side of the river while we’re outside.

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His patrol of the area involves a lot of swimming back and forth from one bank to the other.

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When your legs are six inches long, it takes a lot of energy to doggie paddle up and down the river all day. I make him wear a life jacket so he doesn’t get too tuckered out.

Trooper loves adventures but sometimes I think he would truly be much happier if he just stayed at home in Austin. The outdoors really stress him out sometimes.

It’s a tough life as a corgi on River Patrol, so sometimes, if he is feeling confident that everything is under control, he comes and sits on my chair.  Which is a total pleasure for me, as now I have to share the chair with a wet dog who shakes water all over me.  But I allow this because he is so darn cute.

Ah, thinks Trooper, I can finally relax. No squirrels. But wait..

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Wait! What was that! Something is afoot upstream!

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“Dad! What are you doing? Ugh. Dad. He thinks he is going to fish in peace but he doesn’t know the dangers of this river. I get to him and scare the fish away before he gets attacked!”

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Don’t move dad I’m coming to save you.

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Gees, can a corgi catch a break around here?

And thus it happens that there is no rest for the herding dog on Labor Day.

Some people just can’t relax no matter how hard they try.

We came back to Austin Monday night and he’s been napping ever since.  I did check a couple times to make sure he was still breathing. Someone probably did that to me when I was snoozing in the hammock over the weekend.

P.S. I want to give a shout out to the girl marching down the river carrying a bag and picking up trash. YOU GO GIRL. Thank you for doing that.  I waved enthusiastically at her and shouted “HEY!!” in an attempt to show support but she just looked at me like I was weird.  Kids these days.