Monday, September 26, 2016

A Royal Announcement

But first, this commercial break...
As you may know, I'm a Game of Thrones (Song of Ice & Fire) Geekess. That's important to know. You'll soon understand why...

A major character is a beautiful blonde named Daenerys, of House Targaryen, also known as Daenerys Stormborn or "Dany" to her friends. She has a plethora of other titles - Queen of the Andals, Mother of Dragons, Breaker of Chains, for example. But my favorite is "Khaleesi" which is like a Queen to the Dothraki people. That's another story.

Don't get bored yet! Keep reading...

If you've followed my blog or Facebook, you know just three weeks ago my dear, funny Afghan Hound, Blu2, crossed The Rainbow Bridge.

I love animals and pretty much all of God's creation (except insects & reptiles) but my pet of choice is a dog. When I was 18 and in college I didn't have a car, so I had to take the bus for weekend visits home. Passing through Cambridge, Ohio I saw a young woman walking the most gorgeous creature I'd ever laid eyes on. I had never seen or heard of an Afghan Hound before. This one was all black, in full glorious coat. He pranced like he owned the world, all that black silky fringe swaying to the beat. I was smitten, plunged through the heart with some kind of Cupid's arrow. When I got married, one of the first things we did was buy a black afghan hound. His name was Ratahn.

Afghans are works of art. They are poetry in motion. They are music, dance, and, yes, humor, bundled up in a regal clown of unparalleled beauty. When one crosses The Bridge, this earth loses another pixel or two of color.

As Blu was aging, I started thinking he would be my last afghan and I would probably get a cute little lap dog to see me through my golden years. Young afghans have a lot of energy and are a lot of work!
The night he passed I couldn't sleep so I started searching for Havanese and ShihTzus. Then just like a soft feather brushing across my mind, I "saw" an adult, cream colored afghan. I think the Holy Spirit did an Obi-Wan Kenobi on me, because without thinking, I simply closed the Havanese website I was on and googled "Afghan Rescue." Nothing came up there. I looked at some other kennel sites and got sticker shock.

Just out of curiosity, I checked out the kennel that had produced my Blu2 (Wynsyr). I saw they were expecting a litter of pups the first part of this month. Scrolling down was a short note saying they may possibly have an older dog and to send inquiries. But based on my research that night, I didn't think I could afford an afghan hound at all this time. The breed is getting rare and prices are high. I sort of shelved the idea thinking it would be better to wait and not make decisions in grief.

I waited til after Labor Day to call Blu's "Grandma" as I didn't want to spoil her holiday. She had just come from seeing the new Wynsyr pups and was so excited. She talked about getting one and going back into the show ring. It was hard breaking the news about Blu. We cried and laughed and talked about our dogs and the new puppies. She said she would be on the lookout for me and would have others do so too.

The very next morning she texted me a picture and said this 10 month old may be available. I literally gasped. It was exactly what I saw in my spirit! 

It turned out to be the dog mentioned on the Wynsyr website. And she is Blu2's niece! Phone calls were made, emails passed, texts went back and forth -- and this weekend we made a quick round-trip to the Chicago area.

Ladies & Gentlemen, we are thrilled to introduce
Dany, the new Khaleesi of south Tulsa!

(When she is older & in full coat, she may look something like the beauty on the left, 
hence the GoT fan-girl reference) 

Yeah, so much for Saturday's beautiful grooming...

But I think she likes her new yard :)

So while I shall retain the title of Empress in this house, I joyfully relinquish the title of Khaleesi. She is definitely going to co-reign in our little kingdom.

I shared some of the personal side of this story, the spiritual aspect. You may have a different belief system or don't think there's a "Holy Spirit" who would impress a picture on your mind. That's ok. I know what I know. It's happened so many times. I can't answer why God did this for me when I have other very important prayers in the que -- but because He showed His tender caring in the matter of a pet, I am resting in assurance that those other "very important matters" will no doubt be taken care of too, in the best possible timing.

Thank you, dearest friend Pat, and Scott & James at Wynsyr!
We pray buckets of blessings on both your houses today!!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Saturday Thru the Lens: OKC

Last weekend, I attended a women's retreat in Oklahoma City. It was held at one of the hotels on the canal in Bricktown.

This beautifully renovated area is full of things to do and see, so it was a great location for a weekend getaway.

The retreat was a perfect combination of spiritual refreshing, fun, making new friends, discovering new restaurants, sight-seeing and shopping.

Sunday morning was fresh and clean after Saturday afternoon's downpour. I decided to trade sleeping in for a photo walk around the waterway.

The retreat agenda included a free Saturday afternoon to do whatever you like. I've seen most of the major attractions in OKC, but have never been to the Museum of Art. Their featured exhibit right now is a collection of works by Matisse. 

Honestly, I enjoy mixed media, sculpture and photography more than paintings and drawings. When I told the clerk I was just interested in the Chihuly glass, she was aghast. No exaggeration. I got a mild admonishment/encouragement to see Matisse. 

She basically quoted their website promo:  "OKCMOA will be the exclusive North American venue for Matisse in His Time: Masterworks of Modernism from the Centre Pompidou, Paris, which presents, for the first time outside Europe, highlights from one of the world’s preeminent collections of Modern Art."

So I breezed thru Matisse, then meandered happily thru Chihuly.

This was my favorite - a boat full of glass balls, reflected in the floor.

There was an entire hallway with a clear glass ceiling. It was filled with hundreds of colorful glass shapes. 

The ceiling reflected light and color on the wall.

Glass balls and swirls fill another wall.

Maybe this was my favorite...

This piece was my favorite, too! It looks like dozens of taper candles stuck on logs.

The 55' glass tower stands in the atrium of the museum entrance. I researched & found out it's made of 2400 handblown parts, and is the tallest of the Chihuly towers.

I liked the skyscraper in the background of the glass skyscraper.

Something else I discovered on my Sunday morning photo walk was the Oklahoma Land Run Monument.  It's supposed to be the largest series of sculptures in the world, consisting of 47 statues spread across a distance of 365 feet.  

Did those settlers ever imagine the buildings that would rise out of the red dirt?

Or the highways that would run through a capitol city?

The Land Run is an interesting story, something I never heard of growing up in Ohio. 

It's why OK proudly calls itself the Sooner State. Not the coolest of names, but a fascinating bit of history!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The holiday weekend started and ended with a terrible shaking.
Saturday morning we were awakened by a 5.6 earthquake.
Sunday night, we said goodbye to our beloved Blu2.

I'll just briefly tell you what happened, then I hope you'll take a few moments and stroll down a very happy memory lane with me.

I sometimes post on Facebook pictures from our early morning walks at the park.

This year, it seemed like neither of us could tolerate the summer heat, even in the early mornings. Our route got a little shorter because in the past month, about 3/4 through, Blu would be lightly panting and he refused to jump into the back of the SUV.  Sometimes, Afghans can be stubborn and that's what I assumed here. In fact, last week after getting a pedicure, he was so happy to leave the groomer's he practically flew into the back of the car.  So I thought his slower gait was a normal combination of age and heat.

Sunday was a pleasant day. We shared our daily morning toast. We napped in the afternoon. He ate a full bowl of food and barked at the empty water bowl. He had me well trained. It wasn't really a bark, just a little "ruff" and I jumped up and filled it with cold, filtered water.

About 9:45 we went outside. It was a beautiful, clear night with a soft breeze. Hubby & I sat on the swing talking about the stars. Blu did his nightly obligations, then his routine check of the yard perimeters. All of a sudden, we heard him take off running. This wasn't unusual; we figured he'd spotted a bunny again. We looked towards the fence and saw a very big cat running the top. We called Blu to come in, full well knowing he would ignore us as long as he could smell that cat.

I started walking towards him to coax him inside but I couldn't see him. Hubby had a flashlight & turned it on. We saw Blu laying on his side. In those few seconds, he was gone. We were stunned with shock. I can only conclude that his heart gave out. It must have been bothering him the last couple months and I didn't realize it. His last checkup was Oct '15 and he was perfectly fine.

Afghan Hounds are known for being aloof and regal, yet clownish.

Blu was all that and more. He was sweet and smart, a wonderful companion, rather quiet until someone came to the door. It was an absolute joy to watch him run outside - poetry in motion. He was fast, graceful and so very elegant.

The three of us had developed a comfortable daily routine over the years. The evenings ended with him curled up in his own chair while I worked at my desk or craft table. It's very lonely in here tonight as I write this.

Blu was a great watchdog. There was a gate between the living room and family room. When he stood on his back legs, he was about 5' of head to toe fur. If he didn't know someone, a good barking at the gate let them know he was on duty.

When I got my puppy, I was trying to come up with some exotic sounding name, but drawing a blank. His dam was "Winnie the Blue" - Blue for short. My son's favorite band is U2. Either he or my husband suggested the name Blu2 and it stuck.

Blu absolutely hated being brushed. Eleven years and every time was a battle. This spring I finally gave up. We're both getting too old for this, I said, and gave him a boot camp buzz. He actually looked pretty cute. (Below is the last picture taken of Blu; hubby took it with his cell phone last week.)

Those rascally squirrels at the park would bring out the sight-hound in Blu. Not too long ago he tripped me in an attempt to bring one of them down. I was the one who went down.

This is called a "play bow." Afghans do this when they're having fun or they want to appear innocent of any wrong doing. Sometimes it's also just a good stretch.

Afghan hounds are notorious counter surfers and they start young! You can never break them of it, it's just part of who they are.

They are also excellent thieves! That long pointy nose can snatch a bit of food faster than you can blink. Last week, I merely watched as Blu stole a granola bar wrapper I had put down on my desk. He hadn't lost his touch. He seemed so delighted to have got something past me. I'm glad now I didn't scold him.

 Blu always seemed to pose at this fence corner.

The picture above made the local news when the station asked viewers to send their snow pix in.

Another sign of a content, happy, clownish Blu was the back roll. It was a hilarious sight, all legs and paws kicking in the air. Then he would sit up, shake his head and look at us as if to say, whaaat, can't a king let loose now & then? Blu did a happy back roll Sunday afternoon, then came over for special ear scratches from hubby. He loved hubby's hands and would often tuck his head under them or push his head in his lap, asking for a nice massage & ear scratch.

A good snow romp was always a sight to make you smile.

My beloved Blu2, thank you for bringing so much joy into our lives. You will be so missed.

The Elegant Blu2
 June 29, 2005 - September 4, 2016