She's a Writer, Artist, Publisher...

After a Lifetime in Large Urban Areas, this West-Coast Urban Girl has moved to the Country to start a New Life in a Small Town in Vermont... Watch her bumble her way and conquer!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Robin, 2000 ? - December 28, 2011

We got Robin on a dew-drenched morning in early spring some time around 2003 -- not sure because for some reason I don’t think we managed to write it down.

It was Rafik, our shepherd mix dog that actually found him, by sniffing the other side of the fence on the neighbor's side and acting all interested...

Turns out, there was this great big fluffy orange ball of "dog" that had gotten lost and wandered into our front yard, and our neighbor's yard.

You really couldn’t tell what it was, so hairy and fluffy and sort of like a teddy bear, but it was a chow chow (and pretty much very likely a pure-bred with a nice purple tongue, quite young -- no more than 4 years, said the vet), and he was completely disoriented (and okay, a little dumb but in a lovable way) and at first our neighbor wanted to take him to the pound, then considered keeping him himself (he already had another chow, but an older one). But my mom fell in love instantly and said we are keeping him. So our nice neighbor caught the dog, put him in his side yard, and then later in the day brought him over to our back yard.

The chow chow ran around warily at first, checking us and our dogs out, but since we left the back door open and just ignored him on purpose, he then decided he was home, and just came inside as though it was all normal and stuff. We all pretended it was.

And that was that.

So now we had ourselves yet another dog, and called him Robin.

Actually we never really called him Robin except on his formal vet visit paperwork -- he was Boba, Bob, Bobby, Bobsie, Baboolia, Baboolia-Babah, and Roba (my dad's name for him).

Robin had a gorgeous deep baritone bark, and he loved to run around our back yard and chase and guard squirrels. He also herded cats occasionally and when they got too close to his food dish, he defended it with his honor. He also barked at passerby and "defended" his food dish thoroughly each time someone walked by on the sidewalk. Okay, he was a lovable dummy.

Chows are unpredictable, and Robin was lovable and without a mean bone in his body but stubborn, so was not easy to get groomed (and scared both groomers and some vets), and he definitely was his own dog. He was never particularly greedy about food (except the "guard the food dish from all visitors cause that's the sole reason they come here" thing which was hilarious, cause afterwards he would always take a single bite of the kibble very meaningfully, and then just walk away). And he got along fine with the other dogs.

Robin also must have been trained in a very strange way by whoever had him before us, because he was not particularly obedient, but whenever my mom brandished the broom he would come in. And also eventually later he apparently learned Russian, because mom would say "palka" which meant "stick" in Russian, and that was sufficient to get him to come inside when all else failed. Not that anyone ever used "the palka" on him, we just spoke about it and invoked it loudly.

Robin had a tendency to get outside the gates by accident and sort of run off in the alley and Mom would chase him (also hilarious), but yeah, he was really mom's beloved dog, and you knew it. *grin*

He used to have hotspots, and we would shave him so he looked like a lion with a big fluffy mane and a naked body, which was just fine for California weather.

These last years when foreclosure and other misfortunes overtook us, he was getting up there in years, and as you know he and Charlie rode in the car with us on the trip from California to Vermont.

When we got here, and after Charlie died this Halloween, Robin must have caught kennel cough or some kind of respiratory infection, because for these last two months he had a horrible lung congestion, couldn't breathe or sleep or eat properly, and we tried all kinds of things the best we could at home, and we could not afford a vet visit unfortunately.

It was hell watching him suffer (my poor mom especially took it so hard), and finally yesterday -- just as I thought his lung congestion was down and he might be getting better -- we sadly realized he was choking on his food. Since he could not sleep for days, it was additional hell (he was exhausted and spent all night for about a three nights trying to sleep on his feet, staggering up and falling down).

So we contacted the local vet and they could only see him today (the 24-hour vet was more expensive and too far away). And so this morning, in a light snow, I loaded Robin in the jeep, and drove him to the vet. And there, they said he had horribly swollen lymph nodes that were blocking his airway, and putting him to sleep was the right thing to do.

They gave him strong anesthesia first, and he actually went to sleep literally, and stopped breathing and passed away more gently before they even injected the actual euthanasia.

After two long months of suffering, and around 10 years of age, poor dear lovable dummy orange ball of fur Robin is finally at peace.

It is hard to believe he is no longer here, and the house is so quiet now. The last of our beloved dogs is gone over the Rainbow Bridge...

We will miss you dearly, sweetheart, and see you on the other side.

And now, rest gently, sleep and breathe and dream easy, dear friend.

Until we meet again.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Winner of Jane Austen's Birthday Soiree Giveaway!

The lucky winner of The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration offered during the Jane Austen's Birthday Soiree Giveaway, chosen by, is...


Else M Tennessen!

Congratulations, Else!  Please respond as soon as possible and provide your email address so that I can contact you about sending you the prize!!! :-)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Jane Austen's Birthday Soiree!

Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!

We're holding a marvelous Birthday Soiree gathering across the blogosphere to celebrate the grand lady of Regency, wit, true love and commonsense relationships!

Thank you, to Maria Grazia of My Jane Austen Book Club and Katherine Cox of November's Autumn for hosting the Soiree!

And now, dear Jane...

My gift to you on this Ghost Birthday is a delicate sandalwood fan...

Use it to cover your knowing expression at the next Assembly, to occlude the satirical smile on your lips, and the laughter in your eyes when you observe human folly.

Use it to fan away the silly gossips and to replace idle words with sparkling banter!

Use it like a flitting butterfly to catch the eye of a smart, kind, and striking gentleman who looks a great deal like Mr. Darcy, who listens like Mr. Knightley or Edmund Bertram, who is loyal like Colonel Brandon or Edward Ferrars, who plays with words like Henry Tilney, and who loves like Captain Wentworth...

When the gentleman approaches with dignity and grace to ask you for the honour of the next dance, you put down the fan.

You rise from your seat and take his elegant gloved hand...

As the music swells, you begin the set, a game of sparkling glances and wonder...

Have a glorious dream birthday, Jane!


And now, in honor of Jane Austen's birthday, I have  a surprise gift for you, gentle reader!

Simply comment below with your name and email and you will be entered in a drawing to win a copy of the deluxe hardcover gift edition of The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration, the marvelous "paper blog"-- a perpetual calendar and daily diary which you can make the calendar of your life.

This giveaway will last until December 23rd, so be sure to comment by the deadline to be entered in the drawing!

But wait, this is just the beginning! Visit the participating blogs below for more chances to win wonderful prizes of all sorts! Just click the links and visit, and comment, and win, win, win!

Jane Austen's Birthday Soiree Participants:
  1. Sharon Lathan 
    Blog: Sharon Lathan 
    Giveaway : Miss Darcy Falls in Love

  1. Emily Snyder 
    Blog: O! Beauty Unattempted 
    Giveaway: Letters of Love & Deception 

  1. Laurel Ann Nattress 
    Blog: Austenprose 
    Giveaway: signed copy of Jane Austen Made Me Do It

  1. C. Allyn Pierson 
    Blog: SemiTrue Stories 
    Giveaway: Mr Darcy Little Sister (open worldwide)

  1. Cindy Jones 
    Blog: First Draft 
    Giveaway: a signed copy of “My Jane Austen Summer” and a package of Lily Berry's Pink Rose Tea by Bingley's, Ltd. 

  1. Farida Mestek 
    Blog: Regency stories set against the backdrop of Regency England
    Giveaway: I was Jane Austen Best Friend by Cora Harrison

  1. Marilyn Brant 
    Blog: Brant Flakes 
    Giveaway : A canvas ACCORDING TO JANE tote bag and a pair of A SUMMER IN EUROPE luggage tags.

  1. Prue Batten 
    Blog: Mesmered’s Blog 
    Giveaway : Anna Elliot’s “Georgiana Darcy” (Kindle book)

  1. Velvet 
    Blog: vvb32 reads 
    Giveaway: Jane Austen's Little Instruction Book (Charming Petites) By Jane Austen Edited by Sophia Bedford-Pierce, Illustrated by Mullen & Katz, Introduction by Barbara Paulding

  1. Karen Doornebos 
    Blog: The Fiction vs. Reality Smackdown 
    Giveaway: 2 Jane Austen Candles and 2 signed DNMD books plus drink coasters and tea! 

  1. Regina Jeffers
    Blog: ReginaJeffers's Blog 
    Giveaway: An autographed copy of "Christmas at Pemberley"

    13. Alyssa Goodnight
    Blog: Alyssa Goodnight 
    Giveaway: Jane Austen Action figure

14.    Deb
         Blog: Jane Austen in Vermont
        Giveaway:  JASNA 2012 calendars from the Wisconsin JASNA Region

15.    Laura Hile,  Susan Kaye, Pamela Aidan, and Barbara Cornthwaite
Blog: Jane Started It! 

  • One copy of Young Master Darcy: A Lesson in Honour by Pamela Aidan
  • One set of Frederick Wentworth, Captain (Books 1 and 2) by Susan Kaye
  • Two copies of Mercy's Embrace: So Rough a Course (Book 1) by Laura Hile
  • George Kinghtley, Gentleman (Books 1 and 2) by Barbara Cornthwaite.
16.    Juliet Archer 
         Blog: Choc Lit Authors’ Corner
         Giveaway: a copy of “Persuade Me” and one of “The Importance of Being Emma”

17.    Jane Greensmith
         Blog: Reading, Writing, Working , Playing
         Giveaway: a copy of “Intimations of Austen”, and Sense & Sensibility (Marvel Illustrated) 

18.   Jenny Allworthy
       Blog : The Jane Austen Film Club  Giveaway: a copy of Northanger Abbey DVD starring Felicity  Jones and JJ Feild (The winner will choose region 1 or 2 DVD)

19.    Sitio Jane Austen
        Blog: El Salón de Té de Jane
        Giveaway: - Spanish edition of Sense and Sensibility for the 200th Anniversary + A DVD package with adaptations of Jane Austen
(It's only zone 2, but it's in Spanish and English) + blu-ray of the BBC's Emma with Romola Garai

20.   Kaitlin Saunders

       Blog : Kaitlin Saunders

       Giveaway: “A Modern Day Persuasion”

21.   Becky Rhodehouse

       Blog: One Literature Nut

       Giveaway: selection of Austenesque Reads

22.   Patrice Sarath

       Blog: Patrice Sarath

       Giveaway: A copy of The Unexpected Miss Bennet

23.   Adriana Zardini

       Site: Jane Austen Brasil

24.   Jane Odiwe

       Blog: Jane Austen Sequels 

       Giveaway: a mug with one of Jane Odiwe’s illustrations and a copy of her “Mr Darcy’s Secret”

25.   Courtney Webb 
        Blog: Stiletto Storytime

        Giveaway: Noble Satyr by Lucinda Brant (Regency Romance)

26.   Jennifer Becton

        Blog: Jennifer W. Becton

        Giveaway: An ebook of the Personages of Pride and Prejudice Collection, which contains all of my Austenesque works: Charlotte Collins, "Maria Lucas," and Caroline Bingley. The giveaway will be open internationally.

27.   Vera Nazarian

        Blog: Urban Girl Takes Vermont

        Giveaway: A copy of Vera Nazarian’s gift hardcover edition of her inspirational calendar and diary, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration