A - Family

Their names were Buddy and Ralphie, and we had to let them go today; our two little Bichons who made our lives richer for the past 14 years.   They were not litter mates, but they were brothers – spent almost their whole lives together playing, sharing, fighting, getting into trouble, and then charming their way out of it.  If you have a brother you know.

This will not be a story about sad goodbyes; that story is too painful to tell, and anyone who has loved and been loved already knows whatever I might find to say about loss.  (continues below)

Buddy was beaten before we adopted him from a rescue in Florida; his real name was Milo, our sister-in-law called him Tripod because of his broken leg when we got him.   We named him Buddy, which gave way to Bud-man, Budweiser, Bud Budnick, Budski, Budacious Tatas,  Circus Dog (30 inch vertical leap), Mr. Bud, Bud-zooks, and Shithead when he got into the garbage.  He didn’t always come right away when called; imagine that.    

Ralphie was neglected before we adopted him from the rescue.  His real name was Rusty, but he renamed himself by throwing up when we brought him home; Hurley was already taken by a city, and we knew neither grandma would call him Barfy, so Ralphie was next up.   He didn’t have as many other names - Forrest Gump because he was fast as lightning and not the sharpest biscuit in the bag, then Lieutenant Dan after he went through the prop of a boat and almost lost his legs, and Ka-Ching when I got the vet bill for that.

In these last years, Buddy went deaf, Ralphie went blind, both got senile and barked at imaginary things, and other health problems crept in - seizures, strokes, respiratory distress.   Unlike a retriever or herder, it is really hard to tell when a lap dog’s skills have diminished; they’re guys so they wouldn’t admit it, but I’m sure they lost that competitive napping edge.  But even to the end we were greeted home from every errand with two wagging tails and the ritual tossing of the toys – young at heart, and what other kind of young matters anyway.  

In their healthy years, they would take up opposite ends of a couch, back seat, boat cushion, or bed; but in recent months they had taken to curling up together – they knew it was time before we allowed ourselves to admit it.   Theirs was a good life, and ours was made even better for having them in it; I’m glad they adopted us.   

R.I.P.  Buddy and Ralphie


#41 Splash

We were closing up the the cottage in northern Wisconsin last fall when I heard some splashing down by the shoreline.   So I grabbed my camera and went around to the front, but just missed the shot of the season - two loons diving at once.   Or so I thought….

….I turned away disappointed, but out of the corner of my eye I noticed a little rock bass jump just 20 feet or so from where those  two swirls were so I aimed the camera ahead of him by about 10 feet and waited for the one of the loons to pop up.   Surprise!   The shot is a little blurry; I was startled when the 3 otters appeared instead.  There was a fourth - he just gulped some air and went back to fishing (you can see the swirl).  You never know what is going to get in your way when you look through the lens.      


#40 Shot n HDR

This abandoned farmhouse in northern Wisconsin looked like a good candidate to try the HDR setting on my camera, and then I edited the image in Topaz Adjust HDR effects.   Lots of HDR going on here.


#39 Shallow Depth of Field

A month ago I got a new camera and I also discovered Photoshop elements had been loaded on the computer I bought - this is the first image created with that combination.  


#38 - Ready For A Book Cover

Mr. Gator here isn't just ready for a book cover; he is a book cover!   He caught me eye during one my bike rides and graces the cover of my third and last book, "Bring It!", which has the distinction of spending 3 weeks as the #1 seller in Thailand in the Amazon.com category of English language libertarian essay collections (aren't analytics fun?).   And thank you again Gary, Pam, and Cam for buying your copies in different weeks so I wasn't just a flash in the wok.