I try and take Trouble on a walk without the other two dogs once a week. It doesn't always happen, but when I do I'm so glad for both our sakes. When all three are together, Trouble feeds off Spike's (the oldest) nervous energy and feels like he needs to protect Ruby, the smallest dog. This makes him a bit of a challenge to walk.
But when he's on his own, he's so good. He listens, he heels, he doesn't bark crazily at dogs behind fences, lunging and pulling me off my feet. And for me it's great because I get to put in my ipod and zone out for an hour. I also think some one on one time with my neediest of dogs actually helps him feel more secure and connected and less needy.
So the other day, we're on our walk and this 10 year old boy comes up on his bike. "Have you seen a yellow lab running around?" he asks with a very worried look on his face. My heart falls. Poor kid! I promise that we'll keep a look out for "Basil" pronounced with the English pronunciation, which makes this poor kid now sad AND adorable. I tell him that if we find him we'll bring him home.
Ten minutes later... I notice a very bouncy dog behind a fence fitting the young lad's description. Hmmm.... "Basil? Here boy, here Basil!!!!" I call, feeling a tad silly using the English pronunciation. So Basil comes bounding out from the open gate, responding to his name and makes a beeline for Trouble, who is being an angel because he's solo today.
Well, when I asked the young boy if his dog was friendly, perhaps I misunderstood when he said "yes", because Basil had it out for my Trouble-dog. Trouble, surprisingly, did not fight back, instead of going on the defensive, he tried to get away from Basil. This wasn't a real dog fight, merely a show of dominance on Basil's part so I just grabbed his collar to pull him off of Trouble, whom I'm considering a name change to "Angel" he's being such a saint.
Luckily, the fence that Basil was behind housed another dog with a lovely dog owner who lent me a lead so I could return Basil up a very steep hill to his master.
Both dogs are large- too large for me to control at once if they decide to go at it. So, channeling our amazing dog trainer, Rebecca, I take a deep breath and get both dogs to heal, one on each side. Trouble is so good- so focused- that he alternates between looking up at me for assurance and ahead of him. Basil on the other hand, is pushing boundaries, stealing glances at Trouble, pulling at bit to give him the evil eye. I know if I let up on the corrections with this dog he will lunge at Trouble again and I'm really worried all hell is going to break loose when we step foot on this dog's property.
Fifteen minutes later, we arrive at the dog's home, with both dogs intact. Basil a bit anxious that T-dog is on his property, and he is slowing trying to get closer to start something. Angel (nee: Trouble) is completely ignoring him. Still focused on me, entirely. Phew.
The boys show up on their bikes, there's a younger brother who breaks out into tears when he sees his dog. "thank you thank you thank you!!!!"
Angel and I leave the boys to give their lost dog hugs and kisses and I feel on top of the world.
A few weeks ago, Dave's parents were in town and we visited Queenstown on the South Island. Totally different from the lush North Island, the South Island is a little more rocky and dramatic. The air is crisper, the mountains higher and the fish? Well....
Let's just say they were biting.
We did so much on this trip, an amazing helicopter ride, exhilarating jet boat ride, guided tour of the area, tranquil horseback ride, gourmet meals... but it was the fly-fishing that has truly stuck with me. The river is so peaceful and serene.
The scenery amazingly gorgeous and the rhythm you develop when you cast is personal and powerful. It's this broad sweeping motion that looks so hard to accomplish and does actually take a while to feel. But when you get it, it clicks into place and you feel like you could do anything in that moment.
When we first moved to Auckland, NZ it was winter/spring. It was cold. Everyone said it was tropical in the summer and I couldn't figure out how this bone-chilling, rainy land would magically transform into a tropical paradise in a matter of months.
I couldn't have been more wrong!
After an amazing yoga class this morning (thanks, Ruth from Yoga Sanctuary), I had to run some errands. On the way to the market, I got side-tracked by Murray Beach. I posted about this Beach a while back, it was the first one I found while out exploring. Murray beach is not grand, it's a tiny little strip of sand nestled in-between two cliffs. There's only one road in and out and if you blink, you'll miss it. But if you don't blink, it's the most charming 200 feet of sand and water that you've ever seen.
It seems to be my "go to" beach. It's never crowded or too loud, except when the kids are out in their tiny sailboats courtesy of the Murray's Beach Yacht Club next door. Which is essentially one building in which they house the tiniest of sailboats. And even then, it's really amusing to watch them battle the small waves in these miniature, one-person sailboats which look like toys not capable of standing up to the wind.
I almost drove by and then thought... what's a 15 minute stop? So stop I did, and I was so glad. There's nothing like the sound of the water lapping on the beach and the cicadas in the background. And surprise, surprise, New Zealand IS tropical in the summer! Flowers in bloom scent the air, the sun is strong and high in the sky and the breeze today was perfection. Bright blue sky and big puffy clouds rolling by. It was hot and tropical and the birds were trying their best to drown out the cicadas. Bliss. Perfect after yoga. Much better than the market!
I've been meaning to try mediation again so I plopped down on the beach, crossed my legs and closed my eyes.
Well, I still can't mediate worth beans. Sorry Third Eye, you are still closed. But I only gave it about 10 minutes because I began to feel a bit crispy. Not thinking I'd be playing hookey on a beach after yoga, I failed to lather up with the SPF 30. And there's a hole in the ozone down here (?) or so they say. Note to self: keep sunblock in the car!
So on to my errands I went. Funny thing about the North Shore in Auckland. It's so laid back that shoes are optional. Have you ever been to the market barefoot with sand between your toes? It should be on your bucket list.
These are intended for the dogs, but I tasted one and they're not half bad. If you wanted to make them for people, personally I'd add some brown sugar & chocolate chips & omit the parsley.
They are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Crunchiness will depend on baking time. I store mine in the fridge, because I don't bake them too long. My little one doesn't like crunchy treats. Spoiled much?
I decided to make my own because the healthier biscuits down here in New Zealand seem to be really expensive, and still full of lots of ingredients I can't pronounce. The affordable ones are even worse. I will probably try experimenting with other ingredients like added fish oil for a healthy coat. Even the pickiest of dogs will eat these!
Ingredients: 3 cups of Oatmeal.
1 1/2 cup flour (I've been meaning to try with a alternative flour like Garbanzo bean, if anyone does, please let me know how it turns out.)
2 cups cold water. (if you have leftover stock you can use that instead- make sure there's no salt, garlic or onion)
1 tablespoon parsley (natural breath freshener)
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons natural peanut butter (no sugar, no salt added) or to taste.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
Add the water, parsley & egg yolks mixing well. Add a little more water if it's too hard to mix.
Add the peanut butter after the entire mixture is well blended.
The mixture will be easy to form with your fingers into the shapes of hearts, bones, stars, moons, etc...
Larger biscuits will take about 15-20 minutes to bake. Smaller about 10-15. I normally test one to make sure it's the desired consistency.
If you want to store them in the cupboard, cook them at 275 for a longer period of time to insure they are crispy all the way through. Also make sure they are completely cooled before putting them in a an airtight container. They'll last about 2 weeks. It's the moisture that makes them spoil quickly.
My puppies like them a little less crunchy so I bake them until they are crunchy on the outside and soft in the center and store them in the fridge.
People have been asking for clarification on a few things..
One, what does Kia Ora mean? Here's the definition taken straight out of Wikipedia: Kia ora is a Māori languagegreeting which has entered New Zealand English. It means literally "be well/healthy" and is translated as an informal "hi" at the Māori Language Commission website Kōrero Māori.The New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage website NZ History lists it as one of 100 Māori words every New Zealander should know, with a definition "Hi!, G'day! (general informal greeting)".
Many Kiwis start their emails with this greeting, and I love it because it's Polynesian and try to use it when I can.
Two, "why is your blog called 'Notes from the future'?"
That's because I am actually in the future right now (well, if you are in the states, that is). We're across the international date line so when it's noon on Sunday in California it's actually 8am Monday morning down-under. I like to think of it as 4 hours behind, but a day ahead. And when the time changes for ya'll in the Northern Hemisphere in a few weeks we'll only be 3 hours behind.
And, three, yes I have a phone line down here! A phone line that is not long distance. But, I only have limited outgoing calls, so if anyone wants to chat, shoot me an email and we'll set up a time for you to call.
I have so much more to write, but must get back to work... Have a great day everyone!
PS- Dave was right, the weather IS warming up nicely.