Hello again and welcome to Spring, finally. Well, at least it is a little warmer then it has been and all the trees are in bloom, and the motorcycles and mosquitos are back. I love this time of year because Bob tends to spend more time outside and I get to go with him. What’s not to like.
The last time I wrote, I promised to include more about the things we did when Angie, Bob’s sister in law, visited. She is a very active person so most every day she was here, we did something, even if it was just a ride. However, most of the time, our day trips involved a bit of walking and these stubby little legs got a workout. One day, we jumped in the car and drove north, stopping first at Snow Falls. It was a little chilly that day but not too bad and warmed up as the day went on. At least there were no crowds.
After spending some time here, we jumped back in the car and drove further north to Grafton Notch which is way up near the northern New Hampshire border to visit the state park and the beautiful Screw Auger Falls. Unfortunately, when we arrived, so did some rain, but not heavy enough to keep us from visiting the Falls. Bob and Angie both had waterproof hoodies. As luck would have it, as we were returning home, the sun broke through. We all agreed that we would love to come back here again in the summer and bring a picnic lunch.
I had a great time walking along the water’s edge and even tiptoeing in it once or twice. But it was a long day and I slept in my car seat most of the way home. But I’ll have to say, Maine is beautiful and I’m happy I’m getting to see some of it. Next time, I’ll tell you about our trips to Allen Park in Portland and hiking on the Libby Trails here in Gray.
So, until next time, keep a smile on your face and a treat in your pocket. And to my yet homeless friends, don’t get discouraged. There is a family looking for you. I promise.
I have lived in this house for seventeen, going on 18 years. It is on a short dead end street. in a heavily wooded area. Heavy enough that the other four neighbors on my street are totally hidden from view. But they are there. Always have been. Not so that you would notice. They have their lives and, until the last couple of years, so did we. It was mostly waves from the porch, or chance meetings in the street. But you always knew they were close.
Two years ago, ‘we’ became ‘me’ and although my life changed, my address didn’t. I was just living there alone. This, I have found has had more affect on those around me then it has had on me. I have discovered I am being watched. One lady said she was concerned that “if something happened to you, we wouldn’t know”. I told her that “if my shades are not up by 8AM, call me”. Since she and another neighbor frequently walk in the morning, this seemed to satisfy her. Others call just to see if everything is OK and ask if there is anything they can help me with. I assure them I am fine and thank them for their offered support and their being there if I were in need.
So, the other day when my phone rang, I was pleasantly surprised when one of my neighbors was proposing not words, but action. This lady has five or six grown children who, in turn, have produced 12 grandchildren, and one is in the process of producing number 13. It seems that a lot of the family was over to her house and many were involved in putting in a new garden. However, it appears that there was more family then garden, so she wanted to know if the extra resources could come over and help me clean up my yard of all the winter debris. I welcomed the offer and before long, I was happily working in my yard with husbands, wife’s, a grandmother, and assorted grandchildren. In two hours, my yard was transformed, thanks to the extended hand of a neighbor.
But here is why I write this. We all know of the problems our country faces today. We see all the issues on TV and start to feel that the values that built this country no longer exist. I must admit that my faith in my country has been at least shaken. I tend to blame it on my age since it is not what I grew up with. It is so easy to say that people today are different, and to some degree I am right. But just like the fire that no longer flames, within there is a heart that still burns, and given the opportunity, once again bursts into flame.
I am thankful to my neighbors, not only for standing with me, but for caring. I am thankful that with 12 grandchildren and a family of their own, they could find the time to think beyond family and exhibit compassion for the guy down the street. I am grateful, and, I am consumed with both a feeling thankfulness and the sense that love and concern for others is not dead.
I plan to buy them a cake. A small token of my appreciation. But, with all those kids, I suspect they will know my thank you is sincere.
Hello again friends and followers. Kramer here with another fascinating episode in the life of the world’s most famous Pekinese. Well, maybe not famous, but certainly well known.
It has been another two weeks since we chatted and what a two weeks it has been. So much happened that I won’t be able to tell you all of it today, but stay tuned for future posts where I will reveal more exciting things.
Where to start. As you know, Bob’s sister in law was coming to visit me…..and Bob. We had not met before so I was a little unsure about how all this was going to play out, especially since my car seat was moved into the second row. Bob went to pick Angie up on a Tuesday morning. I went along to make sure I was going to be OK with this. I quickly realized that there was at least one good thing about sitting in the back. I could check her out and listen to her without her observing me. I hate to admit it, but I liked her right away. She seemed very pleasant and had a nice laugh. It also didn’t hurt that she seemed to like me too. When we got home and had some time to get acquainted, she talked to me and picked me up. I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but suddenly I was in love, again. Oh, everyone knows I have a soft spot for women, but Angie was special. I helped her (us) move into her room. Since she was a stranger to the area, I decided that I would sleep on her bed in case she got homesick. In fact, for the most part, I spent all my time with her. Bob didn’t say anything, but I am sure he was wondering ‘what the hell just happened here’.
The rest of the week was a whirlwind. We visited a couple of Maine parks, waterfalls, the Wildlife Park, went hiking on the Libby Trails, drove down to Kennebunk and Kennebunkport, visited Fort Allen Park, and, drove up to visit Cyndee and my beautiful Bella. Oh yeah!!
We arrived about lunchtime and stayed for several hours. Bella and I played a lot, but I’ll have to admit, she has more ambition then I do. That girl can PARTY. And, I know she is crazy about me, because she wouldn’t leave me alone. She loves jumping on me and rolling around. Bob said ‘that’s not necessarily a bad thing and doesn’t happen to everyone’. Now, I’m not saying I’m lazy, as Trish, my groomer, has declared. But I did finally seek the solace of Bob’s lap. And I’m afraid when she also tried to jump up, I became a little defensive and spoke harshly to her. Then her dad picked her up too and everything was cool. It was a great time. On the ride home, I curled up in my seat and took a little nap while visions of Bella danced through my head.
The day we drove down to the Kennebunks, we had had other plans, but it was very chilly and the wind was quite strong, so we decided to do something where we didn’t have to get out of the car. Bob had not been there before, and it is a little early in the season for the heavy influx of tourists, so it turned into more of a tour then a visit. However, Angie said that if she can come back this summer, she would like to walk around and see more of the towns. Maybe even get some pictures of the Bush compound on Walkers Point. Hey, if that’s what Angie wants to do, I’m up for it.
Well, that’s about it for this time. I will tell you more about her visit in my next episode and show you some pictures.
Oh, before I go, just wanted to say the For The Love Of Pets Radiothon was a big success. Bob and a couple of other volunteers spent over two hours playing in the traffic collecting money for my friends. And no, the person in the dog costume is not Bob. Between that and contributions that were phoned in or pledged, and the wonderful support given by the radio station and business sponsors, the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society managed to raise about $10,000. I was so excited, even though I had to wait in the car. I know no one could hear me, but I was cheering them on, and maybe dozing a little.
So, until next time, this is Kramer reminding you to keep a smile on your face and a treat in your pocket. And to my still homeless friends, I want you to know we are working on it.
Greetings again faithful followers. It is Saturday and the weather stinks. It snowed off and on all day yesterday and they were forecasting more snow showers today. Fortunately, the temps are in the high 30’s so none of it is sticking around. In fact, it appears it is turning to rain. I just wish Mother Nature would get over herself and let Spring deliver a little warmer weather. It is April after all.
Nothing much happened the last couple of weeks, but the last few days have been eventful. I mentioned in my last post that WIGY, a radio station in Auburn Maine is holding a radio-thon all day on April 29. It is called For The Love Of Pets and it is a fund raiser for the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society. That of course is my Alma Mater, so I naturally wanted to be involved and participate in the festivities. Bob had said he would see what he could do, but reminded me that this is not TV, so don’t go getting any ideas about close ups. He would bring me if he could, but not to get my hopes up.
Well, what do you know. The morning host was thrilled at the opportunity to meet me as I suspected. He gave me free run of the place (see above picture) while he talked to Bob. I’ll have to say Bob did pretty good for an old guy. At least he was able to answer all the questions. But, when he was through, Mark, the host, wanted to get my picture (I knew this was going to happen). That’s why I took a few extra minutes that morning to do a little self grooming. At my request, Bob also took a promo shot of me and Mark. It has been out on Facebook and the radio station has posted it on their page as well. I’ll have to say the response, while not surprising, has been very positive. I’m sure it will win me some new fans. I’m thinking of hiring an agent, but I’ll wait to see if I get any other gigs or call backs.
Well, Monday, Angie, Bob’s sister in law arrives. I’m kind of excited because I love it when anyone takes the time to come and visit me….and Bob. However, it wasn’t until yesterday that Bob broke the news that while she is here, me and my car seat will be relegated to the back seat of the car. Can you imagine? There was no “would it be alright with you if Angie rides in the front seat” or “I’d appreciate it if you would let our guest ride up front while she is here”. Nope. Nothing like that. It was more of a “oh, by the way, I’m going to have to move you to the back seat while Angie is here”. That was it. Game, Set, Match. Bob knew I was not happy but didn’t seem to care. I pouted for a while, but didn’t want to overdo it for fear he would decide to just leave me home. And, in reality, when you think about it, don’t celebrities usually ride in the back of their limos? I mean, I know a Hyundai SUV is hardly a limo, but it will do for the time being. I’ll let you know how it goes.
At least I am going to look nice for my guest. I will be fresh from the groomer when she arrives and will no doubt be subject to her admiration. I’m sure she will want to pick me up and hold me. That’s permissible of course. She has had her shots and I have had mine. So as far as Covid and Rabies go, we should be fine. I just hope she is not too forward. We are meeting for the first time after all. But, at a minimum, the next week or so should be interesting. I’m sure I will have some stories to tell next time.
So, til then, this is your old pal Kramer saying “keep a smile on your face and a treat in your pocket”. And to my still homeless friends, we’re working on correcting that. I know there is a heart and a home out there that is looking for you too.
P.S. I almost forgot. Autographs have gone up from one cookie to three.
I guess every family has their folklore and stories that have been passed down. One of the favorites in my late wife’s family involved my father in law. In his younger years, he was an officer in the Civil Air Patrol and routinely flew a little single engine Piper Cub. On one such flight, he had as a passenger his brother in law who, if I remember correctly, was not exactly a seasoned flyer. However, as they circled over a lake not far from where they lived and my father in law pointed out the local landmarks, the engine went into a stall. Suddenly, they no longer had power. Jim, the passenger immediately grasped the urgency of the situation and, as his fear grew, said “Alan, what the hell just happened” to which my father in law purportedly casually replied “Damned if I know Jim”. Obviously, he was able to restart the engine and they returned safely. But his casual response was a story told over and over.
I bring this up only to illustrate how we are often called upon to deal with a stall of some nature or another. Perhaps not quite as critical as the aforementioned, but a stall non the less. I’m afraid I am experiencing one now. Fortunately, mine is not critical, but just frustrating. You see, I have stopped losing weight. Just like that. No change of my self imposed Keto diet. No cheating. Nothing. Nada. One day I’m bopping along shedding pounds like Facebook friends, and suddenly, boom, two weeks go by and I am still the same weight, day after day. But if I can be permitted to relate my situation to that of my father in law, I have also gained two pounds of altitude. Bummer.
But, it happens it seems. Not just to me. I have read comments from other wayfarers on the bumpy road to a healthier self that are or have experienced the same thing, and we are not amused. Mentally, we are skinny. So, is it too much to ask for just a little cooperation from our body? Would it hurt it to step up the fat burning thing just a little? I mean, I know I am doing the right things and eating the right foods. I do feel good and I’m not hungry. So, in retrospect, if I don’t lose another pound, I know my A1C is in a lot better shape then it was, and I’m never going back to where I was when I started this insanity. I know all that. And it doesn’t make any difference. I am still 10 pounds from where I want to be. I have a pair of pants that is one size to small that just hangs in my closet, taunting me. That doesn’t help.
Oh well. I guess with any luck at all,one morning I will get up and step on the scales, with both feet, and will have magically dropped a pound, at which time I will high five myself in the mirror and say something akin to “damn, you’re good”. So, until that time, I will continue to live by my motto “Carpe Caulis Flos” which is Latin that loosely translates to Seize the Cauliflower, or something like that.
Greetings again all my avid readers. Kramer here. I can’t believe two more weeks have evaporated so quickly. I guess it is because life has kind of settled into a routine and I am comfortable with it. New stuff doesn’t happen every day and I’m OK with that. I am beginning to become a little complacent I’m afraid. Life for me is actually pretty good.
Weather wise, most of the snow is now gone but we are still experiencing a lot of days in the forties. At least I’m not getting stuffed into that damn coat all the time. I thought I would miss the snow more then I do. I forgot about all the dead leaves that are still there from last fall and how much fun it is to roll around in them. Bob just shakes his head. He forgets that when he was a pup, I mean kid, he did the same thing.
Bob went to a Birthday party yesterday. I didn’t get to go because it was a place where they serve food so animals cannot go in. I’m going to have to talk to Bob about getting my Service Dog certification. Who knows how much cake and other goodies I’m missing. Bob’s still on his diet, so he can’t eat them. It would be a shame to see them go to waste.
Later this month, Bob’s Sister In Law is coming to visit from Indiana. He says she is very nice and I will love her, however, I will be the judge of that. To me, there is a correlation between being very nice and being very generous. She has seen my picture and read enough about me to know what to expect, so I hope she comes prepared to gain my respect, and, you know, cuddles. I don’t just throw myself at anyone. Well, actually I do, but they have to be worthy. When she comes, we are going to take a day trip up to Bangor. Bob was stationed there when he was in the Air Force and hasn’t been back since. It is also where he and Diane lived when they were first married. Kind of a stroll down memory lane I guess. But here is the best part. While up there, we are going to visit a cousin that lives in the area and she is the one that Bella, my Shiatsu heartthrob adopted. I haven’t seen Bella since the beginning of this Covid thing, so I am really looking forward to seeing her again.
At the end of April, there is a radio station in Auburn that is going to do an appreciation day for the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society running from six A.M. to six P.M. Bob has been asked to participate in an interview about his experiences as both a volunteer and as someone that has been adopted by a dog. They are also going to be doing a live feed, so I am going to have to see if there are any opportunities for me to make a debut. This is not about me mind you. I’m just nervous about Bob doing it alone. Kind of guarantee his success if you would.
Well, I guess that’s about it for now. Lucky Dog will be on shortly and I don’t want to miss that. So, until next time, this is Kramer saying keep a smile on your face and a treat in your pocket. And to my still homeless friends, I will se what I can do to advance your cause. I’ll let you know how that works out.
This is one of those posts where I don’t know where I want to go, but I know I want to say something. I want to use this opportunity to express, well, something. I don’t think I will go for “what is the meaning of life”. I will probably start on a much lesser plain. Something more like ” what is the meaning of today” Even that will take some considered thought.
I have been watching the world, and in my case it has been getting smaller. Not physically of course, but the world within my scope. That which most impacts my life. In my early childhood, the second world war was in full swing. I was too young to understand it, but I do remember that life, even then, had been put on hold, not unlike today. Our norms had been suspended and the everyday had become one of unknown tomorrows. Also, not unlike today, our youth were dying in places we had never heard of and worry was something that every parent woke up with.
I remember my folks sitting next to the radio, listening to commentators tell them about the war. At least, our governments version of it. Reports from the front, and there were many, generally left a lot unsaid. Not unlike today, they had been scrubbed for public consumption. News was suspect even then.
When I look at the world today; not mine, but the big one, I find myself chagrined that we have learned so little from history. Perhaps it is because most of our schools would prefer to mold it as opposed to teach it. I listen to our twenty somethings tell me what is wrong with our country, mostly based on the popular opinion of the day, without ever studying, or reading, or even listening to what has gone before them. Their understanding of history is relatively truncated, based on age and orientation, as was mine at their age. I am fortunate however that I at least have had a chance to live some of it and absorb the reality of what built my freedom. Separate to some degree the fact from the fiction. I am grateful for that.
When I was a kid in elementary school, the most important thing to me was my friends. I grew up in a predominantly catholic neighborhood as one of the few protestants. It didn’t matter. My town was home to very few civil diversities. My friends were friends because we liked each other. No one told me who I could or couldn’t like, or play with. I never heard of a transgender and, with the exception of a couple of black families, didn’t really have a chance to interface with other races, or colors. There were boys and girls and that was about it. We accepted each other for who we were and didn’t give it much, if any, thought.
We were taught American history based on the integrity of the textbooks. I don’t think I ever had a teacher that proselytized what I was taught. You studied your lessons and hoped you remembered enough to pass the next quiz. There were dates and facts to be memorized, but your opinion was your own, to do with as you may. That is partly the reason I became a student of the Civil War. I was allowed to pursue my interests without regards for who was right or wrong, or being coaxed to see it in a particular way other then my own.
I grew to be an independent thinker as a result. I often did not agree with those around me, but we all had an opportunity to speak and share. I didn’t have to see which way the wind was blowing to decide what to think. And, to ignore the ideas of others was to close the doors of progress. I can’t say I see that today. Perhaps that is why my world is growing smaller. Maybe I have just been here too long. It’s time to step aside and give the reins to the next generation. Watch the same mistakes being made over and over. Watch history repeat itself. Or maybe, just maybe, I have not been here long enough. If all things are indeed cyclical, maybe I will again be a resource. Or, at least, be able to tell an interesting story or two.I’m not holding my breath however.
Hello again and welcome to my world. It is Saturday morning and I am running up on my Monday deadline, so thought I had better sit down and type a few lines while Bob is occupied preparing for a dump run. I’m afraid that’s about as exciting as he gets.
Well, as you can see from the picture, I am scaling what well could be my last snowbank of the season. We have had a few days above freezing so the melt has begun in earnest. In fact, today, our forecast is to reach the fifties. Sophie, also known as Nanook of the North because of her love of snow and cold weather, is now wandering around the back yard leaving footprints in the mud. Bob, on the other hand, is wandering around the mudroom with a wet cloth and a towel.
Speaking of Sophie, it appears that she and Bob have reached an impasse on the carpet caper. One night a week ago Bob forgot to put the little rug down to keep Sophie from scratching up the carpet. Ironically, I had left two of my stuffed toys laying in the same area. The next morning, the toys were undisturbed and Sophie was curled up in the dining room. Bob could not find any traces of her scratching in other spots, so the next night he put my toys back in the same spots and again, and she did not move them. So far, we seem to have reached a silent agreement. We’ll see how long it lasts.
My new collar and leash arrived and let me tell you, I look awesome. The collar has my name and telephone number on it and they are both reflective when lights hit them at night. A friend said while he was driving home one night, he could see us walking from a long way away. He said at first, he couldn’t make out what it was, but he could see something bright moving and he could see Bob’s vest, so he slowed down as he approached. It appears they do what they are supposed to. We have both noticed that approaching traffic tends to slow down now.
Well, Bob and I had our night out at Vern’s. Vern had his Covid test and it came back negative, and Bob has had both of his shots, so last Tuesday night, we went over to his place for dinner. As I mentioned before, Vern agreed to cook a keto friendly meal for Bob, and, it turns out that it was also friendly to me as it contained oven baked chicken breast. Vern also fixed herbed riced cauliflower with grilled tomatoes and a melted feta cheese sauce on top. Bob, and the other guests that are not on keto all agreed that it was delicious. I’m sure Bob will resize the recipe and it will show up on his plate some time, and maybe a little chicken in my bowl and Sophies.
While there, I met Ruby, a border collie mix that lives downstairs. She was in the yard when we arrived and tried to climb in the car before Bob could even get me out of my seat. We were instant buddies. Turns out we have some things in common. We both like to steal Swiffer pads and enjoy dragging shoes and slippers around the house. I look forward to seeing her again.
Oh, and I almost forgot. This week, I, we, reached a milestone. Lord knows it was touch and go sometimes and there were times when I wondered whether it was going to work, but it did. Last Thursday marked one year since I adopted Bob. Doesn’t seem possible. I’ll be truthful. On occasion, I had my doubts, Bob being, well, Bob. But, although not being the brightest bulb in the lamp, he did take instruction well and is presently as good as he’s going to get, and that’s OK. He has grown on me and I can’t imagine living with anyone else at this point. So I raise a dog treat to you (and him) in celebration and look forward to the next year. Gifts can be forwarded to the attention of Bob.
Well, that’s about it for this week. Until the next time, this is Kramer saying keep a smile on your face and a treat in your pocket. And to my still homeless friends, keep the faith. It will happen for you too.
As any of you that follow me know, back in early January, I decided to go on a diet. Not unlike the thousands of people that, on New Years Eve, while basking in a pleasant alcoholic haze, said “this year I am going to lose weight”. Only in my case, I was stone sober and motivated by something called my A1C. I decided that I was tired of taking medication that was prescribed because of my eating habits and the resultant excess weight I gained. So, after perusing the alternatives, I decided to check out the Keto diet.
After getting over the initial shock of what I couldn’t eat (or drink} I started to concentrate on what I could and it was not all bad. It took a while to adjust. Keto bread is definitely an acquired taste. It’s just not what you probably envision when you think of a loaf of bread. I have baked several loaves and they have all come out resembling a meatloaf. They don’t use yeast for which I have subsequently acquired a healthy respect.
Fast forward a couple of months, and here I am, surrounded by things like almond and coconut flour, psyllium husk powder, something called xanthan gum, and eggshells. Lots and lots of eggshells. It seems that they are a staple when baking. I saw one recipe that called for 2 cups of egg whites. Do you know how many eggs that is, to bake one loaf of bread? Well, I do. It is 16. I decided to pass.
I‘m not militant about this Keto thing. I do try to stay around 25 carbs per day, but I’m not doing macros and meal planning to achieve optimum balance in my diet. I naturally crave variety, so chicken one night, a steak or pork chop or some fish another, and a couple of salads keeps me happy. And, I have found a new food friend. It is cauliflower. Who knew. I never thought I would say this, but I don’t miss potatoes or rice. It is the most versatile vegetable out there. Mash it, rice it, add spices, make patties, broil it, add it to casseroles, etc., etc. I am also developing a new appreciation for cabbage. Again, adding it to dishes and/or frying it with herbs or making low cal cabbage rolls, or a pork stew. It’s not just for coleslaw anymore, or with corned beef on St Patrick’s day.
I must say, I do miss my beer and a couple of slices of a real yeast crust pizza. I have tried hard seltzer drinks, but they are just OK. A couple of glasses of wine are permissible however, and I have found a low carb margareta mix. I’m still experimenting with pizza crust recipes. King Arthur Flour has introduced a Keto “friendly” flour that actually has a little wheat flour in the blend. It contains a couple of extra carbs, but since this whole thing is about trade offs, I can live with that. And, through the magic of sugar alternative sweeteners, (no, they don’t still have an aftertaste) I am enjoying cupcakes, muffins, cookies, brownies, and even a key lime cheesecake. Of course, the downside is that serving sizes are verrrry small. But hey, two cookies is only 4 carbs. And, if no one is looking, I may do three.
So, I guess I am in this for the long run. I am becoming acclimated to my new eating regimen and find that I am seldom, if ever, hungry. I have dropped 25 pounds since the first of the year, my A1C is down, and I feel better then ever. I am learning to convert conventional recipes, taking out a lot of the carbs and leaving in the flavor. I still want to drop another 10 pounds to get down to a healthy weight, but I am definitely happy with the results to date. It has been, and is, a challenge, but I’m glad I decided to take the plunge. Now, if I can only figure out what a person does do with 16 egg yolks.