Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve - The River Run Interlude

I've kidnapped my wonderful partner and taken him away to a lovely little place situated in Ladner, BC, right on the water (and very near the ocean) for a relaxing and quiet New Year's Eve.

The River Run Cottages are a lovely bed and breakfast with the accommodations consisting of individual units located right on the south arm estuary of the mighty Fraser River. We are currently staying in the "Netloft" which used to be a building where the fishermen would hang their nets after fishing. There are several other interesting units here including a self-contained floating cottage (the "Waterlily") but my heart belongs to the Netloft. Marc and I stayed here 2 years ago for just one night and I really wanted to return for a longer period of time. With our busy schedules and with my 2 whippets, it is often difficult for us to find some time and opportunity to get away. I was perusing the River Run site a few months, noted that the Netloft was still available over New Year's and, on a total whim, booked the place and then set about trying to sort out what to do with dogs. Another big part of the planning included figuring out how to convince Marc that this New Year's might just be the year to not party with the hordes! Anyway, dogs taken care of, and Marc convinced, we set off today to our destination and settled in with a supply of suitable refreshments for our New Year's celebrations.

The accommodations, as expected and remembered, are simply lovely. The Netloft unit is a two-storey building that has a deck overlooking the Fraser River, woodstove, very comfy bed in the loft, and the proprietors serve the most amazing breakfasts! I am so thrilled that this worked out and we both intend to simply relax, rest, soak in the surroundings, and above all not feel guilty for doing nothing for a couple of days!

Overall the little touches really add to making this place so special. Upon arrival is a little decanter with sherry, for New Year's the requisite party hats, noisemakers and a half bottle of bubbly, and mid-afternoon a little baked treat is delivered. Breakfasts are truly to die for and perhaps next time we'll arrange for the dinner for two!!

We're going to be very bummed to head home - other than for the doggy reunion!

Happy New Year! (and I apologize for not getting this posted earlier - too busy relaxing!!)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Snow Boy

A few nights ago I had a quiet night alone with the dogs and had just a lovely evening - watched 2 movies and slept on the sectional in the family room with Becca stretched out along my back. Tazio was curled up next to where my head rested on the pillow combination that I've scientifically determined to be optimum for a lovely night's sleep.

At around midnight or so Tazio needed to go outside to do his thing. Now when Becca is in season - which she currently is - I control all dog access in or out of the house between the family room and the back yard. So as soon as Tazio stirred I could see he wanted to go out I paused whatever I was watching (actually based on the time it was "Sense and Sensibility" - watched "Say Anything" later), dragged my comfortable butt off the sectional and let him out. I then stood and watched what he was up to so I'd be ready to open the sliding door to let him back in. Well, his outing was a treat to watch . . .

Tazio is my 10 yr-old whippet - he's an interesting character and can sometimes be a bit of a liability but I love him for all of his faults. He's not really an "adventure boy" whippet but last night he showed his past experience and comfort level with snow and I think he enjoyed himself.

As soon as Tazio had finished nosing around the covered patio area, that due to our recent snowfall served as the general toilet area for the whippets, he headed off to slide himself along some fenceline cedar shrubs where the snow had melted significantly yesterday and further towards the back of the yard. For quite awhile I couldn't figure out where he was or where he'd gone but then after straining my eyes in the dark I suddenly realized Tazio had gone around the storage shed and was negotiating the deeper snow still investigating his yard. At that point I wondered if he'd return by the way he'd already travelled or if he'd try a more direct route to the back door by breaking a new trail in the deep snow. Well I guess the fun factor won out as Tazio bounded and leaped through the snow looking more like a puppy than the more sedate mature boy that his age would reflect. His entrance into the house consisted of flying through the open door followed by his continuing to bounce into the house stirring Becca from her repose and the two of them flew around the kitchen and family room - flying onto and off all furniture!

Took a little while to get them calmed down and settled back around me!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Panic Is Starting To Set In!

So this Christmas we've been commandeered into hosting Christmas brunch at our place - and I like the idea - I just am not keen on the stress this social obligation brings with it!

The past few years I've gone with Marc (and sometimes with his daughters) to spend some time with some of his family at their house for Christmas brunch and it's always been fun and even more so because I only have had to help out a little bit and the biggest thing was making sure we got ourselves and the presents over to their house on time. This year however we are hosting the Christmas brunch and we will have 10 at table - including Marc's lovely daughters who will spend the first part of Christmas Day with us.

It took no time at all for us to come up with a menu and my ex-husband was a star in coming up with the recipe for his Mum's egg dish that is just perfect for this sort of occasion. The big plus is I get to make two new desserts - Cranberry Vanilla Coffeecake and Guinness Stout Ginger Cake - for the occasion.

For those that know me they know I love dessert and any opportunity to try a new recipe always makes me happy. And two for one meal! I'm in heaven.

So yesterday I was talking with Marc's sister-in-law about the arrangements for Christmas Day and we're invited to her sister's for the big dinner. And gee, it turns out that a dessert something other than Christmas Pudding is required and they've turned to me to come up with something. The first suggestion from Jill was that I bring a chocolate yule log. Now folks I can't just go out and buy the dessert - I have to make it - and I immediately had visions of the thin cake base cracking as I tried to roll it - or even not lifting away from the pan it was baked in! As a result I'm in a semi-panicky frame of mind this morning as I must come up with something chocolatey for dessert for the biggest meal of the year! And I have to work today! And we really do need to go out and get a tree and get the house decorated! And are we done shopping for presents? And . . .

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Pre-Christmas Blah Ramblings

So it's been quite awhile since my last post - and I was working on one (really I was!) - problem being that work and some pre-Christmas winter boredom sort of crept in and took over for a little while. Now that I'm almost in the pre-Christmas panic/frenzy that I've grown accustomed to over the past few years I figured it was time to get back at this!

Tara, my friend's sweet whippet girl who stayed with us for a few days, was a lovely guest and fit in very well with my 2 whippets. It's been so much fun watching her and my girl, "Becca", whippet wrestling in a really friendly fashion - no drama at all.

Tara proved to be just a delight to have around the house. And very much a girl. Her rain/winter coat (whippets have very little body fat and a thin single-layer coat so outerwear is very necessary when it become "mitt" weather for me) was made with a gorgeous purple outside covering, but it was the lining that had me entranced! The coat was lined with a lovely soft light brown plush material that reminded me of real mink. Or at the very least, sheared beaver. I briefly shopped for fur in my Northern past and it made an impression - the materials are gorgeous! Tara, being predominantly white, made quite a striking picture when I had her out for walks. She and Becca were walked together and the 2 girls in their purple coats were quite a pair when we were out and about. I must admit I did feel a bit self-conscious on the days I had brought along the lavender-scented, purple in colour, "poo" bags!! It actually got to me so I did switch over to the lime green bags that I have.

Tara has been back home with her human mommy and her whippet house-mate Nike for a little while now and I know Becca missed having Tara around the house for the first few days.

So as of two days ago Becca came into "season" and I had to dig out her lovely panties for "that special time". Now the reason that Becca has to wear panties during this "special girl time" is the fact that our family room is carpeted and the dog furniture is covered with cloth fabric. And no amount of blankies over the furniture can keep the whippets from digging little nests right down to the cloth covering, thereby exposing the furniture to, well, Becca. Anyway, so this morning the dogs are shoved outside (whippets really don't like the cold) and I figured they'd taken care of all business. Becca was allowed back in, panties put on, and I could turn to my laptop. BUT NO!! Somethng caught my attention and I was treated to a lovely image of Becca scooting around the kitchen/family room with a "full diaper" look to her and her bottom end. Ah yes, someone didn't take care of all of her business outside so guess who did! That's right . . . me!

I'm just hoping that is the most drama that comes my way this week!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Sweet Tara

One of my best whippet buddies ("Jenn and the City") is away in Mexico (and I hope she's having an absolutely fabulous time - she really needed the holiday) and before she and her family departed she had to make arrangements for dog-sitting. Her older boy Nike went off to visit grandma and her young lady Tara was earmarked for my first attempt at dogsitting. I've had whippets since '96 but have to this point never dogsat anyone's else's dog so I was a bit apprehensive at first.

Of course life and work being what they are I was out of town until yesterday and as a result Tara went to stay the first few nights at another whippet friend's house until my return. This morning I said goodbye to my doggies as I set off to pick up Tara and bring her here for a week's stay. Now I'd had some excellent advice as to how I should introduce the dogs but I wasn't prepared for the initial "fun".

I brought Tara into the house on leash and my two zanies were most excited at this turn of events in their otherwise boring existence (not exactly true with the kamikaze squirrels that seem to like to taunt them - and that's definitely several other stories!). After all seemed to go well I took the three dogs outside and let Tara off her leash. At that point I had a brief flash of "what the h*** was I thinking!". I have two whippets - Tazio, who's 10 years old and a littermate to Tara's housemate Nike and Becca, a crazy but absolutely adorable 2+ year old. Once Tara was off leash Becca proceeded to give Tazio major grief - barking, growling, hanging off his neck while Tazio was just bouncing around like a major goof, probably thinking "yippee, another girlie in my house and yard - now why did Mom have me neutered, I could be having so much more fun if she hadn't done that!". Poor Tara got this look on her face as tho' she would have preferred staying with our other friend for the rest of her mom's holiday and kept trying to hide behind me. Whippets are amazing dogs however and it wasn't long before there were a few very fast games of tag going on, squeekie toys being tossed about in the air, and lots of blasting in and out of the dog door. And now, as I write this, all 3 have crashed out on the couch.

And I can finally get some work done!!