Tag Archives: Christmas

Chloë Finds Christmas Secrets

Secret tree

The first time I found the Secret Christmas Tree in Discovery Park, just Heather and I were walking. Mike must have been at some appointment or other. It was in a fairly out-of-the-way location in the South Meadow, not far from the wooded area called Spruce Island. We had to traverse some narrow trails to get there. It was still light out, so at first we saw only its colored ornaments. Upon closer inspection, we saw it also had a string of colored lights powered by two solar collection discs wired to the trunk of the 6-foot tree. It’s actually more visible at night, when its sparkling lights can be seen from paved park road above. A sign at the base of the tree begs for benevolence toward the clearly illegal decoration and solicits comments about it. I did my part for Secret Christmas Tree preservation, leaving as quickly as possible after the photo because the recently clipped blackberry branches were doing a number on my feet.

Ouch! Those thorns !

Other than that, we enjoyed a quiet Christmas at home. My pal Charlie came over for dinner, and I hung out with him in the living room watching LeBron James while Mike and Heather were busy getting the various dishes on the table. Outside in the rain, Mike roasted beef, which usually means good things for me later. However, while I got plenty of dishes to lick after they ate dinner, I was distressed to learn that neither of those delicious rib bones from the roast were coming my way. As a recent visit to my dentist-veterinarian for a six-month, post-surgery checkup again illustrated, last spring’s root canal and the titanium crown protecting it preclude real bones from touching my lips forever. The best I can hope for from Christmas dinner will be some quality trimmings and some tasty bone broth. That and dental chews are my new normal.

Personal delivery for Chloë?

My only Christmas presents came from my old reliables. My  Syracuse aunts and my pal Charlie both came through with  treats and a ball, while Mike and Heather gave me a brand-new orange SU collar, just in time for the big bowl game (which we’re watching at Penny’s house). But the highlight of the gift-giving season was not a present, but rather when Donna, my favorite UPS driver, pulled her big brown truck into our next-door neighbor’s driveway. I figured she had done that because Heather’s car was in our driveway, but no, her delivery was really for the kids next door. I had to settle for Donna’s treats, but it was very exciting while it lasted. My frenzied barking to get out of the house got every dog in the neighborhood going. Sorry about that.

Christmas presence

 

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Chloë Chills for the Holidays

Stopping by the woods on a snowy evening.

I have been so busy the past few weeks that I simply haven’t had the time to sit down and dictate any notes for Mike to type out for me. So let me recall some highlights and catch up.

Pre-holiday festivities were light this season. Mike and Heather saved money and time by merging their annual holiday office parties (one employee per office), and I was the only outside guest. What a celebration! We enjoyed some extra string cheese as hors d’oeuvres and dined on roast pork with stuffing and, of course, sautéed kale, the hip side dish of the year. Although there was no Secret Santa gift swap, I’m happy to report nobody got too drunk and made a fool of him or her self.

Christmas Eve brought two storms to town, the first of the snow variety (very rare in temperate Seattle) and the second a visit from Heather’s sister Sammy, who is a whirlwind all her own. I mean she’s a perpetually high-energy person, at least compared to the slow and dour pace I normally seen from the people around this house, unless Mike gets excited during a Syracuse basketball game or Heather starts ranting at the PBS Newshour.

Winter wonderland on Christmas morning.

The festive Sammy is often whistling or singing around the house, and this time she apparently infected Mike with the musical bug. On Christmas Day she and Mike belted out a duet of “Winter Wonderland” on the telephone to Mike’s Mom Rosalie and my aunts Susie and Debby in Syracuse. Luckily, the You Tube cameras were not rolling at the time, but I got to see it live and in person. I wasn’t sure whether to cry or laugh, so I did a little of both. There were no encores.

We did get quite a bit of snow on Christmas Eve and Day, and I really enjoyed frolicking on the slippery trails and through the meadows in the park. Snow lasted in our back yard and in the park for a few days, but the sidewalks were pretty clear before Heather was able to shovel the whole neighborhood. I could see she was disappointed about that. Several nights of turkey, potatoes, stuffing and gravy alleviated her anxiety. I got to lick plates!

3-Chloe Gets New Ball

Santa brought Chloë a new ball.

As far as gifts go, Susie and Debby sent me excellent treats (some that taste like meat loaf, one of my favorites!), and a mouth-sized, gnaw-able ball that I immediately adopted as an alternative to Wiffie for inside-the-house throwing. I like the size and feel of the new ball in my mouth, but pawing it against the floor doesn’t put any backspin on the ball, like I can do with the Wiffie.  Therefore, within a few days of Christmas, Wiffie reclaimed his Interior Top Ball position, and deservedly so.

It’s a good thing Susie and Debby came through with their gifts, because nobody else did. Not my so-called friends (and you know who you are!) and not even Mike and Heather, my alleged caregivers. Apparently they couldn’t even find a special treat or a Mushabelly in the house to put in my stocking. Maybe this retirement thing brings an austerity budget along with it. They better make it up to me for my birthday in February.

4-Chloe and Yule Log on TV-002

Chloë lounges in front of the Yule Log..

Anyway, I survived this holiday disappointment, and on the first weekend after New Year’s we headed out to my foothills getaway for a few days to recharge the batteries. I always have a good time out there, even if I do have to share Heather’s affections with the resident dog Pumpkin. I cut the Pump some slack because she idolizes me so much.  Therefore, I don’t mind that Pumpkin goes on walks with us and naps on Heather’s other flank on the couch. But I’m not as liberal with my feelings for the cat Mr. Fuzz, who wisely stayed upstairs during this entire visit, or the latest arrival in the affection sweepstakes: Pepe, a donkey. Luckily, Pepe stayed in the barn, where I don’t go unless forced, so I missed meeting him this time, but I feared his presence nonetheless after Heather described him to Mike and me as “cute.” Hey, I’m the cute one around here, and I don’t want Heather or anyone else to forget it for an instant. #MeToo!

 

Chloë Sends Holiday Greetings

A wirehair wiener dog plows through with gifts..

 

Dachshund through the snow

Demanding that we play,

O’er the fields we throw

Laughing all the way.

Treats below my tree

Make my spirits bright

What fun to be home in my bed

With a PBB tonight!

Well, that’s about as creative as I get this week. Mike and Heather have settled into a long winter’s nap, and I am left, snug in my crate, to ruminate about everything.

While I’m doing that, I wish happy holidays and a healthy and prosperous new year to all.

Chloë Recaps Her Holidaze

Chloë's shortcut

Chloë’s shortcut

Sorry I haven’t written in so long, but the holiday season just got in the way. When I wasn’t taking long walks, napping or playing with new toys, then Heather was hogging the computer keyboard and Mike couldn’t get on it to take my dictation. Picky Mike claimed he cannot type fast enough on his tablet to keep up with me. (He’s not as tech-savvy as I would prefer in an executive assistant, but he is what he is, and I’ve got to live with it.)

Since on Christmas Day I wasn’t quite sure whether I was going to get any gifts from my owners Mike and Heather (just as likely a lump of carrot was headed my way),  I considered myself lucky − and was extremely thankful − to get gifts from my friend Charlie and my aunts Susie and Debby (whose package did NOT arrive via UPS, by the way). Charlie gave me more of the  yummy dried sweet potato treats that I like and a so-called indestructible ball that I destroyed and partially devoured in about 10 minutes. I had a great game of keep-away with its remains, until I finally got a treat for giving it up.

People's exhibits A and B

People’s exhibits A and B

My Syracuse aunts sent a smorgasbord of chewy things along with Mike’s tin of Susie’s holiday cookies. Mike (who’s too damn weight-conscious, if you ask me) of course wanted to ration out everything, small bets at a time. But he was foiled by two large rawhide bones that were too hard to break into pieces. He made the mistake of seeing if the rawhide was hard enough to withstand a full-bore dachshund onslaught, hoping that it would take several sittings for me to whittle it down to a nub. The first time, I got through about half of it before Mike was able to wrest it away from me with a Treat Party as bait. The next time, a week or so later, I  grabbed the other half from Mike, ran under the dining-room table and refused to come out or let him touch me until I was done chomping on it. When Mike pleaded with me to drop it, I didn’t growl at him, but I coiled up menacingly, gripped the remaining rawhide between my teeth and glared. Mike gave up, knowing he was no match for my will.

Chloë and Heckle

Chloë and Heckel

Hurby

Hurby

Luckily, that last part happened well after Mike and Heather gave me my Christmas present: Heckel the Hedgehodge, another of the talking Mushabellies toys that my pal Penny turned me onto last year. I still have an attachment for Hurby, my original Mushabellie, even after I destroyed his vocal chords in about two hours, rendering him chewable but permanently mute. Heckel took a full 24 hours to silence, so he’s a tougher dude than Hurby. Even speechless, I still like Heckel, but not as much as I liked Hurby, judging by the relative slobber that I left on them during their respective peaks of popularity.

Heckel

Heckel

Besides Heckel, I received another good new toy in December: an orange rubber ball that I found outside a neighbor’s house while we were borrowing her yard waste bin. The neighbor told Heather that since I found it, I could keep it, and it’s become a favorite. It’s hard enough that it bounces high, but soft and small enough to chew on. Gnawing on it makes a squishing sound that Mike hates. So what? I like this orange ball because we can use it inside as well as outside, and because it’s something different than Whiffie, quieter and not as fast or easy to spin backwards. I like to push the orange ball under the coffee table in the living room and take the short cut between the shelves to bring it back.

Napping with Heather: The best.

Napping with Heather: the best present.

Between the chewy treats, the new orange ball and Heckel, I certainly got some great new stuff at Christmas. But the greatest gift was having Heather home every day for walking, napping and hanging out. I don’t know about her, but I definitely know when it’s time to retire.

Chloë Dreams of a Brown Christmas

Antlers return.

Antlers return.

I could tell we were zeroing in on That Most Wonderful Time of the Year when Santa Monkey, Rudolf and Mr. Moose came out of the storage bin and into the living room. Stockings and lights were hung. And the best part: My favorite big brown truck started coming more often. December must be some kind of mating season for the big brown trucks; I’ve seen them congregate in the parking lot of the former Bill the Butcher store at the bottom of our hill, rear end to rear end, in broad daylight. I’m certain something’s going on.

On the Boulevard

On the Boulevard

My personal favorite UPS driver has lots of deliveries in our neighborhood. More than once, Mike and I crossed paths with his truck before we even got to our corner. Of course, Mr. UPS throws two biscuits my way every time. So after I scarf them off the pavement (unless Mike grabs one first so I don’t wolf them down), we don’t walk towards the park as usual. Instead, I lead Mike along Magnolia Boulevard and its cross streets, hoping to meet the brown truck again. Even when I can’t hear it, its scent hangs in the moist December air. Or maybe it’s the scent of Milk Bones.

So for the past few weeks, I kept dragging Mike through the neighborhood, noting the tasteful light displays and chortling at the ugly ones. If I sensed we were closing in on the truck, I’d start to walk faster, but I had to be careful, because if Mike saw the truck before I did, he tried to steer me in the wrong direction. If I spied it first and got some forward momentum, however, there was no stopping me.

Dravus tower

Dravus tower

One day I caught him twice, and Mr. Brown gave me double Milk Bones both times. I call that my Ghost of Christmas Past moment. At the other extreme, my version of the dreaded Christmas Future: One day a big brown truck roared up the street near the water tower on Dravus, a favorite destination of mine. I waited for it by the curb, expecting two biscuits to fly my way. But the truck went right past me, turned the corner and stopped.

Mating season?

Mating season?

I dragged Mike across the street after it, and sat on the sidewalk between the truck and the house, waiting expectantly. In the truck were a driver and a runner, neither my guy. The runner smiled, told me I was cute, but shook his head sorrowfully. “No treats,”he said, showing me his empty palms. The truck drove down the block and stopped again. I followed,  and sat. The first time must have been some kind of mix up, I figured. Nothing. After I repeated this futile exercise a third time, I finally believed it. I let the truck drive off, but I was hardly done: I ordered Mike to write down the truck number, and I will be reporting this incident to UPS world headquarters in Atlanta. Two biscuits should be a right, not a privilege.

Chloë''s Stocking

Chloë”s Stocking

I’ve noticed several boxes arrived on our own doorstep of late, some of them even left courtesy of my own Mr. Brown (while I was apparently napping soundly? At least he left biscuits!). Maybe something arrived for me and Mike and Heather are hiding it until the big day. I’m confident, actually. I know I’m going to go to bed on Christmas Eve with visions of new toys and treats dancing in my head, and I fully expect to be rewarded in the morning. I mean, how good does a good dog have to be?

Chloë Gives Thanks for Her Gifts

Chloë''s Stocking

Chloë’s stocking

My Christmas stocking didn’t stay hung up by the fireplace for long. Mike and Heather planned to dole out my gifts one or two at a time. But as soon as my over-stuffed stocking moved from the mantelpiece to the fireplace utensil stand, putting it within my easy reach, I yanked it to the floor and pulled out all the gifts inside. Patience is not among my highest virtues.

Chloë wrestles Krinkles.

Chloë wrestles Krinkles.

Heather’s “no-presents” rule doesn’t seem to apply to me, which is OK as far as I’m concerned. Heather, in fact, was my major benefactor this holiday, giving me three new toys:  stuffed Santa Monkey, an orange rubber bone that squeals when I bite it, and my new favorite, Krinkles. I’m not sure what to call Krinkles. It’s  a soft, round, flat discus stuffed with something that sounds like cellophane when you crinkle it up in your hand. Krinkles has a red fabric exterior with a snowflake on one side, and it looks like it would be real easy to rip up in about 10 minutes. Au contraire; so far I haven’t been able to separate even one seam– and I’ve tried, as you might deduce from my warrior fangs in the photograph above.

Chilling with Penny during the Pinstripe Bowl.

Chilling with Penny during the Pinstripe Bowl.

The orange plastic frisbee that my buddy Penny gave me didn’t have the same staying power, I’m afraid. The moment that Mike wasn’t looking, I grabbed it and chewed through about a third of it before Heather caught me. We didn’t even get a  chance to take it outside and throw it.  Sorry, Penny. Luckily, Penny also gave me a blue tug toy that I named Smiley that I have been very interested in to start. We’ll have to see if Smiley has more staying power than Leppy, the Bear and other squeaky toys that have temporarily won and then lost my favor. It’s tough on the new toys: I get excited when I first see them, but after a few days, when it’s time for a spirited tug of war, you can’t really beat good ol’ Ropey.

I understand;  finding the right gift toy is hard. Frankly, I prefer the holiday gift strategy adopted by my extra special best friend Lynn (who dropped off yummy pumpkin biscuits)  and my  beloved aunts Susie and Debby from Syracuse (who sent long-lasting rawhide chews and tasty jerky treats):  Don’t bother with dog blankets, balls or toys. Just send food.

However,  as Mike and Heather took down the Christmas cards and put away the holiday decorations for another year, I realized that none of the toys or other gifts I received could really overcome my disappointment over the one thing I didn’t get: Those antlers that sat atop the TV cabinet for two weeks as I pined away from afar, ultimately unrequited. It will have to be wait ’til next year, I guess.

Antlers uber alles.

Santa Moose, Moosey Jr., Rudolph and a set of antlers on top of the TV cabinet: Out of reach, but not out of mind.

Chloë Hangs Her Stocking

I ran away from Mike just before dark, chasing rabbits through the South Meadow, and he had to search for me with a flashlight (I was back home on the front porch, scratching on the door and barking for somebody to let me in). Even so,  he didn’t seem that pissed at me until he came out of the bathroom and saw me with the card.

Chewed card.

Chewed card.

When they slide the door closed, I’m not allowed to go into the bathroom with them. I don’t like this, but what can I do but whimper? But this day,   I had an opportunity to grab a Christmas card that had fallen on the floor and start chewing it. What fun! If I had realized the card came from my best friend Lynn, maybe I wouldn’t have eaten part of it, but what’s done is done. But it was chewing the card that seemed to  put Mike  over the edge. I tried to run away from him with the card still in my mouth, so I could bury it somewhere, but Mike yelled, loudly, and I just dropped the card and lay still. I could tell that Mike meant business this time, and I better not mess with him.  I got the silent treatment for a long time.

Old stockings

Old stockings

That little incident put me on my best behavior until Christmas, however. I’ve already figured out that a couple of days before Christmas is a bad time to be naughty. My stocking is already hanging on the fireplace mantel, and when it went up I understood why Mike hadn’t put them up last week with the other decorations:  He decided the stocking we had were ratty-looking, didn’t match, and were generally no longer up to MY lofty fashion standards.

New stockings

New stockings

So Mike got us three new ones, each individually stitched with our names. The photos here don’t really do them justice, since you won’t able to appreciate how soft and plush they are. My stocking is green with burgundy trim, while Heather’s and Mike’s are the opposite, burgundy with green trim. Mine is thus appropriately distinctive; even in the dark of night, Santa will always be able to pick mine out from theirs, unless we somehow get a red-green colorblind Santa. Most importantly, all three stockings are now the same size, and all toes face in the same direction.  To me, that’s the  key element of a balanced holiday mantel design.

Chloë's new stocking

Chloë’s new stocking

A few days later, however, I realized there were two things my stocking lacked:  It was empty, and it didn’t have antlers.

Penny

Penny

If for the next couple of days I’m nice and not naughty, the first problem would take care of itself on Christmas Eve while I’m fast asleep in my crate in the bedroom. I know Mike has been hoarding biscuits that Lynn dropped off (unless she retracts them when she finds out that I chewed up her Christmas card).  I also heard Heather tell Mike that she had gone shopping to get some new toys for me.    Heather has good taste. And I have already sniffed out the presents for me in the package my aunts in Syracuse sent, as well as the gold bag on the coffee table that my pal Penny and her parents sent over. Not wanting to jeopardize my access to all these gifts that are so rightfully mine, reining in my naughty ways is paramount to success in my immediate future.

Chloë in antlers

Chloë in antlers

That’s where the antlers come in.  I’ve developed an inexplicable attraction to antlers ever since Mike took those silly pictures of me for my holiday greeting card. Why, I have no clue, but ever since Mike put those antlers on a vase in the living room right over those two stuffed moose decorations, I have camped under those antlers, desiring them without success. Then  Heather brought home a Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer musical stocking from her office present swap and put it on top of the TV next to the moose, and now all bets are off regarding control of  my imminent behavior.

Rudolph stocking

Rudolph stocking

Why? Because when you touch Rudolph’s paw, his nose lights up red and a chorus sings his reindeer song as his antlers move back and forth in time with the music. Rudolph is wonderful, and I can’t take my eyes off him or his antlers. I want to possess them, and Mike and Heather won’t let me. The cruelty of it all.

Will I be able  to resist temptation through Christmas Eve and remain sufficiently well-behaved so I can get my presents? In the best interests of all concerned,  I would advise Mike and Heather to stay out of the bathroom until Christmas, or at least not to shut the door . You can never tell what I might do when that door slides shut.

Chloe Eyes Rudolph