Wordless Wednesday: See Ya Later . . .

. . . alligator!

Thank you to our friends at BlogPaws for hosting the Wordless Wednesday blog hop.

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Happy Eighth Birthday, Miss Harper Lee!

A note from Harper Lee’s mommy . . .

Today is Miss Harper Lee’s eighth birthday. She and I celebrated a little earlier this week–just the two of us–with a visit to the edge of the Mississippi River. We watched the barges travel up and down the river, she watched the squirrels travel up and down the trees, and we reflected on eight great years.

I couldn’t have asked for a more amazing dog. She’s sweet and smart and eager to please, and she’s been all of those things every day since the first day her human daddy and I met her.

She has an amazing ability to connect with people. Through the Visiting Pet Program, she goes to nursing homes, universities, summer camps for children with special needs, and shelters for people forced from their homes by natural disasters. She immediately brings smiles to people’s faces. When they pet her, they all say the same thing: “She’s so soft.” 

As much as I try to deny it, eight is sort of getting up there for a Golden Retriever. I have no idea how many more years we have ahead of us, but I do have a promise for my sweet girl: Your health and happiness will be my priority, and I will make every day an adventure filled with love.

Happy eighth birthday, Miss Harper Lee!

 

 


A Work of Art in Progress

My neighborhood grocery store is pretty special. It’s real name is Breaux Mart, but my humans call it The Bro. Although I’ve never been inside, I have spent quite a bit of time outside–either waiting with one of my humans while the other runs in to pick something up or strolling around the outside on one of my daily walks. I’ve always loved this mural on the downtown side of the building. (I know that in most cities people give directions as east, west, north, and south. But in New Orleans we say downtown, uptown, river side, and lake side . . . mostly because nothing’s quite straight around here.) The mural was painted by Max Bernardi. You can click here to read more about Ms. Bernardi and to see video of her discussing the swamp-scene mural.

We were thrilled to discover that Ms. Bernardi is painting another mural on the opposite (or uptown) side of The Bro. I’m so excited to share photos of this new work of art in progress. There are six sections running along the wall. The top photo was taken the first week in January and the bottom photo is from the first week in March.

Don’t you just love seeing the progress?

I almost feel as if I’m on the street with those turkeys.

I also feel as if I have to tell you that it was much cooler when we took pictures in January than it was the day we took them in March; but I still think I look pretty good comparing my profile to that horse’s profile.

These last two sections have a bit more to be done.

We’ll follow the progress on our walks to and from The Bro, and I’ll be sure to show you the finished product.


Spring Tease

My sister, Tallulah Bee, and I went to New Orleans’ City Park last weekend. The last time we visited the park was a freezing cold blustery day in January, so you can imagine our surprise when we saw that spring had sprung while we were away. Now I know that for many of you the snow is just beginning to melt and spring blossoms are still a few weeks away. And I know that you’re thinking that the pretty flower pictures I’m about to share with you are a bit of a “spring tease.” You’re right. But just remember that when I’m seeing all of your fabulous fall photos–you know, the ones with the pretty colorful trees, the dogs romping through the foliage on the ground, and the humans sporting their cozy sweaters–it’s still 90-plus degrees where I live and our tongues are hanging halfway out of our mouths. So, without further ado, my sister and I present to you our spring tease.

 There was a pretty little patch of tulips growing by the big lake. Tulips are tricky in the deep south. We have to let the bulbs rest a bit in the refrigerator before planting because our ground temperatures don’t get cool enough to get them going. And then when they do bloom, it gets so hot so fast that they don’t last very long. So catching them on a beautiful day looking their best is a big deal. Tallulah and I lucked out. As an aside, I had to laugh when I saw that flimsy little rope that was intended to keep the tulips from being trampled. Did the park humans seriously think that little thing would stop Tallulah if she decided to make a mad dash for the ducks in the lake? Good thing Daddy had a tight grip on her.

Can you see our Golden hair blowing in this shot? Tallulah and I spent a lot of time with our noses in the air and our eyes closed, concentrating on every little yummy scent that wafted our way. Fun for us . . . not so fun for or official photographer/blogging assistant/Mommy. Fortunately, she’s persistent and managed to catch both of us sort of facing forward in front of the blooming azaleas. There are plenty of pictures of me posing in front of pretty azaleas, but this is Tallulah’s first, a right of spring passage for all southern girls.

Any idea what might have caused these silly faces?

It was the whistle from this little train that travels around City Park. Maybe next time Tallulah and I can hitch a ride. A girl can dream, right?

Tallulah and I thought Mr. Lion looked so stunning with his profile pose that we decided to copy it. Pretty good, huh? Well friends, this concludes our spring tease. My little sister and I will take a bow and exit the stage . . . but not without wishing you a speedy spring full of pretty flowers, and to our friends in the southern hemisphere a mild and quick winter.


2016: One Spot, Twelve Shots

This time last year, my humans and I created our own little 2016 photo challenge: Select one location and go there once a month to take a photo of me with my sister, Tallulah Bee. We chose a little willow tree in New Orleans’ Audubon Park, partly because we knew a willow tree would change throughout the year but mostly because it was close to the parking lot and we knew that in summer’s peak heat we’d want a location that wasn’t too much of a hike. We decided to take the monthly photo at the end of each month (mostly due to procrastination) and in the morning (due, again, to the heat that we knew would make summer photos challenging). We posted our pictures each month on Instagram. Today I’m sharing our year in pictures with you.

janfebmarch2016-thek9harperleeJanuary, February, March 2016

After our January photo, Mommy wondered if Tallulah Bee would ever learn to look at the camera (#easilydistracted). By the time February rolled around, the duck population in the pond behind us had greatly increased since the previous month, adding immensely to the degree of difficulty in getting a good photo (#yummyduckpoop, said Tallulah). In March, we had zero cooperation from my little sister. She was obsessed with sticks and water fowl . . . anything but the camera. That’s ok. I managed to notice that the grass was turning green again, and our sweet little willow tree was budding out. I also managed to smile for the camera (#professional).

aprilmayjune2016-thek9harperleeApril, May, June 2016

April was full of showers, which the little willow tree definitely seemed to enjoy (#muddypaws). Tallulah and I should have enjoyed the last of the cool spring temperatures. By May we were starting to feel summer’s heat and appreciating that decision early on to pick a photo spot that was close to the parking lot (#melting). June’s photo was technically taken the first weekend in July. It was the only month throughout the year that we cheated; but notice that Tallulah was finally looking at the camera . . . more or less (#smallvictories).

 julyaugsept2016-thek9harperleeJuly, August, September 2016

Our July photo was taken on a super hot morning, so I opted for a little rest in the cool grass . . . which made Tallulah look like a giant (#perspective). The next picture pretty much sums up our August photo shoot in front of the little willow tree. Despite the unbearable heat, I was ready to pose. And Tallulah? She just wanted to eat grass. Mommy wondered how much longer we could use the “she’s a puppy” excuse (#excusesexcuses). We thought (hoped) August would be our last sizzling monthly photo session in Audubon Park. Wrong! Tallulah and I were desperately looking for autumn (#farinthedistance).

 octnovdec2016-thek9harperleeOctober, November, December 2016

October’s photo was yet another challenge: migrating ducks, duck poo, and the heat that lasted through Halloween. As you can tell, Tallulah was super hyped, while I was not so amused. What you can’t see is my human daddy holding Tallulah still. The magic of editing (#thatswhytheycallitaphotochallenge). Three magical things finally happened for our November photo: 1) We finally had cool weather. 2) Tallulah and I finally both really looked at the camera. 3) Mommy finally brought treats, which is why the second thing finally happened (#humansarehardtotrain). Mommy says that our December photo is her favorite, and not because it was the last of the year, haha. She loves this one because it shows our pure joy . . . and because Tallulah didn’t notice the swan in the background. It only took 12 months (and about a thousand snaps of the camera), but we managed to get the perfect shot (#practemakesperfect). We’re currently scouting locations for this year’s monthly photos. Finding a spot without ducks and duck poop is a priority. 😉


My Special Day with Bashful

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Late last week, my human mommy helped my rockin’ friend Bashful pack his bags and head home after an eventful stay in my hometown of New Orleans. He had quite a visit. Between a Pelicans basketball game, gumbo and brass bands, and laundry and red beans and rice, it seems Bashful was always on the go with my humans . . . and he was always eating. He may need some new clothes (one size up) when he gets home. Before Bashful traveled back to Bacon and the Hotel Thompson, I got to spend a very special day with my new little friend.

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We were up bright and early last Wednesday and in the car for a road trip. Bashful called shotgun.

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Before I knew it (maybe because I slept for most of the trip), Bashful and I had arrived at our destination: the Small Animal Clinic of the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine where I do rehab for my hip and elbow dysplasia. (You can click here to read more about my special joints and the rehab I do.)

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I sent Bashful off with Mommy to run a few errands while I did my workout. The pre-Christmas Baton Rouge traffic was even more horrific than usual. I want to apologize to Bashful for any words he might have heard as he and my human mommy attempted to traverse the city as quickly as possible.

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I sensed some slight traffic-related tension when Bashful and Mommy returned to the vet school to pick me up, so we all spent some chill time in the Serenity Garden with its beautiful fountain before heading back to New Orleans.

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When we returned home, my little sister Tallulah Bee was still at Camp Bow Wow, which meant that the fabulous piggy toy that arrived with Bashful could come out to play. (Tallulah is a bit rough with toys, so they tend to run off and hide in a special cabinet when she’s around. When Tallulah goes to camp, the toys know that it’s safe to come out and play with me.) Bashful and I had had a pretty eventful day already, so after just a very short play time we were fast asleep.

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We had a message from the Hotel Thompson that Bashful arrived safely at home Sunday afternoon . . . and he didn’t arrive alone. Seems Bashful is quite the ladies man and he brought his new friend Lola from Nola back to Georgia. At this point, I’m going to leave you in suspense so that Bacon can introduce you to Lola when he’s ready. Patience, my friends. 😉


Bashful Does Monday the New Orleans Way

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Our little friend Bashful has been out of the picture lately. Between decorating for the holidays and entertaining out-of-town guests, he’s had his hands full. (Okay, so Bashful doesn’t have hands, but you know what I mean.)

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This past Monday, Bashful got back to living the New Orleans life, and on Mondays that means laundry and red beans and rice. My human mommy/blogging assistant did a little research into why red beans are such a Monday staple in my hometown, and she found this nugget of wisdom from the Camellia Beans people:

Old habits die hard. New Orleanians continue, with ritualistic fervor, to consume red beans and rice on Mondays. Spicy Caribbean recipes for beans and rice were brought to the city in the late 1700s by French-speaking Haitians fleeing the revolution in Saint Domingue (modern-day Haiti). Local housewives and housekeepers quickly adapted the thrifty, convenient practice of tossing meaty ham bones leftover from Sunday suppers into simmering pots of red kidney beans that could be left to cook, undisturbed, over a low flame for hours–leaving them free to engage in the arduous Monday drudgery that was “laundry day.” Despite the modern convenience of washing machines and dryers, the Monday red beans tradition continues today….

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Bashful observed while Mommy followed the red beans recipe (I was sound asleep on my bed; I’ve watched this process for more than seven years). It’s a family recipe, so measurements aren’t exact; but you’ll get the general idea, and then you can adapt it to your tastes.

  • Empty one 16-ounce package of red beans into a large stock pot and add enough water to cover. Soak over night. Drain water the next morning and add the following ingredients:
  • One yellow onion chopped
  • One green bell pepper chopped
  • Two ribs of celery chopped
  • Three to five cloves of garlic chopped
  • A few large dashes of garlic powder
  • About six to eight healthy dashes of Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce
  • Four or five healthy dashes of Tabasco sauce
  • Three or four bay leaves
  • One or two ham hocks
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A handful of chopped parsley
  • Add water to just an inch or two over the combined ingredients.
  • Bring to a boil, and then simmer all day.
  • Add sliced sausage about 30 minutes before serving.

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While the beans simmered, Mommy and Bashful headed to the laundry room and got to work. You can’t tell from this picture, but Tallulah Bee and I slept under the ironing board while Bashful supervised. I have no doubt that Mommy truly appreciated all the extra help moral support snoring.

bashful-does-monday-5-thek9harperleeWhen the laundry was finished and the beds were made, it was time to slice the sausage. Mommy found a really yummy and slightly spicy sausage made by the butcher at our local grocery store. A note to Bashful’s buddy Bacon about the sausage: It was beef, not piggy pork. Our apologies about those ham hocks though. 😉

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I don’t know about you, but I don’t think Bashful looked too thrilled when Mommy held him over the hot pot to have a good look.

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He was a whole lot happier when the beans were served with some good French bread and a fine red wine. I think Bashful could get used to the Monday routine in New Orleans.