Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Blaze Through the Years


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Yesterday was a very sad day for our family.  We had to say goodbye to our beloved dog, Blaze.  She had bone cancer in her left front leg, and we weren't able to control the pain well enough for her to be comfortble anymore.  She was 14.

Blaze came to us from the SPCA of Wake County in 2000.  She was found roaming the streets of Raleigh and was about 1 year old.  I was volunteering at the shelter then mostly fostering puppies.  Everyone loved Blaze (Aubrey was her shelter name) for her unique auburn color and calm temperament.  While the other dogs would jump on their doors and beg for visitors, Blaze would sit near the back of her kennel patiently waiting.  For a short while, she was adopted out to a family, but they brought her back.  The mom got her for her kids, but returned her saying that Blaze would only bond with her.  The foster moms took our puppies and a few older dogs to Petsmart one Saturday, and Blaze came with us.  She spent a good part of the day sitting on a captains chair looking as cute as could be.  (Does anyone have a picture of that?)  Still no interested parties.  I suggested she come home with me for the rest of the weekend to get a break from her kennel, and it was okayed.  She never went back.  Poor thing was quite timid and hand shy and definitely preferred women over men.  Of course we'll never know why she was so scared, but we hoped she would eventually come out of her shell.

For a while, I was just fostering her with the hope of getting her more comfortable so that she could go to another home, but I was in love with her and also felt that she needed a real dog family to manage her.  Soon, I adopted her.

Those who lived near us and visited us over the years can atest that she came out of her shell.  She got used to men, really enjoyed children, started to try to boss other dogs and critters around (well except when her boyfriend Jake would saunter through or my foster puppy Zoe would sneak over from her home nextdoor), and became a real friend and joy to family and friends.

She handled Kitty's arrival a couple of years ago with minimal issues, and she transitioned well when we moved last July.  As long as she was with her family and had her doggie bed, she was content.  But earlier this year, she fell one day and yelped badly.  I thought she'd sprained her leg somehow, but no bruising or swelling, and she avoided walking on it with no improvement over a week.  An x-ray at the vet showed that she had bone cancer.  Not at all what I was expecting.  So sad...

Although I've had to say goodbye to other beloved pets over the year, particularly to my Leo who died of heart cancer at 4, nothing ever really prepares you for it. Especially hard was letting the boys know that she was sick and explaining why we weren't going to let her suffer anymore.  Hard to manage my grief and their's at the same time.

I think I'll be looking for her in her spots by the fireplace hearth, near my bedroom door, and under the kitchen table for years to come...missing her.

Johnny wasn't able to read without her last night, but I hope in a few days he can find a new routine and get back to his reading.

A special thanks to Dr. Rodriguez at Fuquay Verterinary Hospital for crying along side me yesterday as we said goodbye.

Donnie took great care to prepare a place for her to rest near a dogwood tree in the front yard.  Daffodils are growing nearby, and I put a sasanqua camelia over the grave.  We'll remember her well when we look out over the front yard.



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Monday, April 14, 2014

Dogwood in the Light


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I'm short on words today.  Shot this in the yard late yesterday and tweaked it a good bit laat night as I watched TV.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Fuquay-Varina Easter Egg Hunt Over the Years


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The town of Fuquay-Varina held it's Easter Egg Hunt yesterday.  The kids were good sports and posed with the Easter Bunny for me.  Joey was officially too old for the hunt this year at 11, but the town staff said he could hunt with his brother and sister;-) and so he had a good time.


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I was thinking back on all the times we've done this hunt.

Here's a shot of the kids at the Fuquay-Varina Easter Egg Hunt in 2010.


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This is a cut shot taken at my home in 2010.


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A shot from the Fuquay-Varina Easter Egg Hunt in 2011.


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Madi with the Easter Bunny in 2008.


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Also from 2008.  I don't know why I didn't get a shot of all of them with the bunny:-(


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There's more, but I digress:-)

M


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Obviously this is a potato masher and I cropped it.  I tried several versions with blurred outter edges but I didn't think it was working well so went the crop route.


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Sortof wish I had  better less cluttered picture of the M on the Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park playground.


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Or that the boys had been smiing on the M at the Pullen Park playground.


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The Dodge Ram M seemed to commercial to me to use but I did take a shot of one at a stoplight.


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Saturday, April 12, 2014

A Trip to Raven Rock State Park


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This isn't the 'best' picture I took yesterday, but it is one of my favorites, and it expresses the true character of any trip to Ravn Rock State Park at least with the kids along for the hike.  They love climbing on the large rocks along the Cape Fear River shoreline.  It's dusty, and so getting your butt dirty becomes quite humorous.  They also loved to test out the echo chamber the rocks create.

 We did the Raven Rock Loop Trail which takes you to an awesome view of the Cape Fear River and rocky shoreline as well as to a scenic overlook which I really enjoy.  The map says it is 2.6 miles.  I am sure we walked at least 3.


Map

The park has a new visitors center, and it's a good idea to talk to the park ranger to make sure you get on the trail you intend to see the views you want to see.  I have walked the 5 mile trail to the old dam area before, and that is gorgeous too.

The kids know this is a looooong walk, and they weren't necessarily gun ho about it, but they loved getting their feet wet in the creek, getting dirty on the rocky shoreline, posing for pics, and oh ice cream at Sunni Skies on the way home.  I plan another trip in October with the promise of ice cream then too:-)

I wanted the exercise and photo ops both nature and kid portraits. The light coming down through the newly open leaves was gorgeous as well as the dogwoods that are now blooming.



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We saw a very large rat snake and several varieties of pretty wildflowers too.  Johnny delighted in taking a bath in what he termed a natural shower where water was dripping down from the rocks.  It was near 80, so that really cooled him down.

Scenic Overlook view.


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Anoter view of the huge rocky area.


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Water dripping off rocks.


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Echo Video
Natural Shower Video

Friday, April 11, 2014

Tulips of the JC Raulston Arboretum


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The kids and I went to the JC Raulston Arboretum near/on the NC State campus yesterday.  This is only my second trip there in 15 years, and the first time was with my friend Judy to their annual plant sale.  I really didn't get to enjoy the gardens the first time because they were swamped.  I'm not sure why it took me so long to go back.  The gardens are very nicely done and filled with lots of interest in the hardscape as well as the plants.  You know me, I was wanted to take tulip shots, and I did find some to take...way at the back of the gardens off the beaten path...about 15 in all but surrounded by many lovely daffodils for which I was able to create a lovely backdrop.  The boys enjoyed their visit as well as any kids their age enjoy visits to gardens:-)  This arboretum has a lot of shade and a lot of benches, so it worked out well.  I sweltered in the sun with my straw hat taking pics while they wrestled each other for prime seats under trees.  Yet I know they took away some things from their experience that can't be measured in the time of one trip.  A love of pants and nature.  The joy of spending time with mom.  An appreciation for art, beauty, and the smells of the garden.  Joey even said he enjoyed himself and that we should go back sometime:-)


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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Fiddlehead


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Taken in my yard yesterday.  Ferns are very prolific in this area, and we have several varieties and hundreds of clumps of them around the house.  Amazing how someting so tiny can turn into such a large and beautiful frond.

Here are a few more shots.


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