Monday, May 29, 2017

Happy Memorial Day

Well....another Memorial Day has come and mostly gone...I'm still sitting here in a hotel in El Segundo (just south of LAX)...been here almost 2 weeks now. Our work here is almost done...we've finally got the spacecraft loaded into the all that's left is to convoy the container to the aircraft and fly it home. THEN we transport it from the aircraft to the payload processing center and unload it. After THAT it's no longer our worry. Until then we have a VERY VERY VERY VERY expensive vehicle in our care. Of course I make it sound like no big thing to load it into the container, transport it, load it, unload it, transport it again and unload it again. It takes a HUGE crew of people working tons of hours for this all to happen...I'm just a small cog in a big machine.

Meanwhile, Jeannie left the babies in a friends care and flew out to Minnesota last Weds to help care for my Mom, who is undergoing chemo for stage 4 ovarian cancer (which was discovered back in early March). My brother Greg already was there for the first 3 weeks, Jeannie is doing the 2nd 3 weeks, and I'll be flying out on the 13th (I think) of June for 3 weeks. We are doing our best to help our Mom thru this ordeal. The fact that it's spread throughout her body is not a good thing, but other than a cough (from the cancer in her lungs) she was fine all was the persistent cough that brought her in for testing. If anybody can beat this thing it is my 83 years old she would tire out the Energizer bunny (seriously). The chemo is having an effect tho....(duh) right now she's not the dynamo she normally is...but that's certainly to be expected. Her chemo started a bit over a month ago...the first Friday she does a double dose (2 diff types) then the next 2 Fridays she does a single dose...then taken a week off and start the cycle over. This will go on for 6 months unless her oncologist sees a reason not to.

I've totally missed the cycling so far this year...I was HERE in the hotel for the Tour of California, that went right thru my back yard again (the Tepesquet climb last week). the day before that the finish was on Main Street Arroyo Grande...(15 miles away). And now the Giro is over...pretty much totally missed that...wasn't even reading much about it. Sounds like it was a real doozy tho. I do hope to catch le Tour...I should be flying home from my trip to MN on 4 July, just in time to up our satellite package and at least watch THAT.

The babies are all doing good...Abbey has an ear infection, but other than that is doing quite well. She has consistently gained just a hair over a lb a week. As of Saturday she was 4 months old and weighs right at 15lbs. I'm hoping she tops out a bit over 30lbs fully grown...but we will see soon enough. She is a real terror and just a joy to have around. And Sophie has TOTALLY taken her in as her sister/daughter...they play nearly all the time...and she is SO gentle with her, we couldn't be happier for that!

Anyway...that's the scoop from here. Just trying to keep my lips above water. I should be home by Thursday morning. I start working night shift tonight (working 12 hours...ugh) and will continue working nights all thru the 10th of June when hopefully we are all done with this mission. 


Sunday, May 14, 2017

It's all about Abbey

Wow....we had forgotten how much work a puppy can be. Sophie was 16 weeks when we got her over 2 years ago. Turns out there's a BIG difference between 16 weeks and 8 weeks. Abbey was (and is still) just a baby! Though she's growing up fast...weighed her today, she's now 14 she's actually doubled her weight in the last 6 weeks (she's now 14 weeks old, still holding onto gaining roughly a lb a week). IF her weight gain holds with Sophie's (who was 23lbs when we got her, exactly half her adult weight) then Abbey should top out around 32lbs (as I assume at 16 weeks she will have gained 2 more lbs). That's not a bad size, still light enough to pick up...where-as Sophie is well beyond that and feels like you are picking up a boulder.

All is well with the babies, and Sophie has totally taken a role as 'protector/mother' to our little white darling. In fact, just yesterday Jeannie noticed that PG was barking at Abbey as she does whenever Abbey invades her 'space'...and for whatever reason Sophie charged over and made a 'move' at PG, pretty much showing her hand saying "don't mess with my baby". It was interesting...and it got us talking about what would happen if we were out in the yard and another dog came up to Abbey...IF Sophie thought there was any threat we are quite afraid she might just attack...she IS a bulldog and even though she is quite gentle to us and abbey, we're thinking all bets are off if she even THINKS her baby is in jeopardy.

That all said, I have a few more pics before I go (working all night tonight, then heading down to Los Angeles/El Segundo tomorrow night for down there thru the end of May).

 Abbey just LOVES to TRY to play with PG, who absolutely WILL NOT play with her. That said, it's funny how whenever Abbey and Sophie are playing, she will typically be nearby 'monitoring'. Right now PG is throwing iron DARTS at Abbey AND us (as we are allowing it). You may not be able to see it in the picture, but that is TOTAL glare/laser-beams from PG's eyes at me.

 This is more like what we typically see when Abbey comes anywhere near PG...teeth, growling and barking. Lots and lots of teeth. But she's not yet bit her as far as we know...Abbey sure isn't afraid!

 Sophie and Abbey play....a LOT. And many times Sophie will lie down so Abbey can crawl/jump all over her. This is one of those moments...and Abbey takes full advantage of it and goes over the top.

 Another shot of Abbey TRYING to play with PG. And as always, PURE DAGGERS at me for allowing it to continue. Here Abbey is chewing on PG's foot. Moments ago it was all 'teeth'...I think she's just trying to vaporize me with her laser-beams at this moment.

 Being a terrier, Abbey LOVES to hide in/under stuff. Here she crawled under a pillow on the couch to nap. Though you can see she's peeking just a bit (hard to tell peeking from fully open eyes).

 This shot is actually looking straight down on my lap as they are sleeping. You can see how much Sophie LOVES her little thing's for sure: Abbey doesn't go very far alone.

And my final shot for this post: Abbey SLEEPING with PG (who is SO not happy with the situation). At least, that's what she wants us to think...we secretly think she likes the attention. Jeannie took this shot and said there are burn marks on the walls from PG's laser-beams!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

1 month with Abbey

As of today May 2nd) we've had our Wee Monster Abbey for ONE MONTH! She's been growing at the rate of just about a pound a week...she was 7 lbs when Jeannie brought her home back on April 3rd, and I when weighed her last Friday and she was 10 and 1/2 lbs and I assume she's over 11 by now. We're quite happy with our adorable little baby, but she is so far resisting the house-breaking part. I read up on Bull Terriers, and they are notoriously a bit more 'difficult' to train even though they are quite smart, as they are just so 'bull' headed. She's great in every other way, and I'm hopeful that she will soon pick up the good dooty-habits just by following Sophie and PG around, which she absolutely LOVES to do.

We have Abbey sequestered in the kitchen during our work days, as there's no way she will get the run of the house until she proves she can go outside on her own and do her business. Being as Sophie and Abbey are quite inseparable, we also keep Sophie with her during the work-days. I have put up a temporary wall out in the back yard cutting it almost in PG has the one half via the usual doggie doors into and out of the garage, and Sophie and Abbey have the other half via the kitchen sliding-door-screen doggie-door I made. Then I made another movable wall that blocks the kitchen off from the rest of the house. Each morning before work I erect the walls with Sophie and Abbey in their safe zone, PG is on the other side LOVING IT (she's not really a big fan of Abbey running up to her jumping all over her and in general just being a puppy). But she's never bit or even snapped at Abbey, so we're thankful for that.

Sophie and Abbey play together a LOT, which is so wonderful! We've felt bad for Sophie almost since we brought her she was a puppy ready to play, and PG is quite old and NOT much on playtime (when we first got Sophie we also had Sydney and Sweet Pea, both also quite old). Sophie is now about 2 and 1/2 years old, and is still very much a puppy, albeit a rather strong and large puppy (shes holding at 56 lbs). She's also a mother for Abbey when they aren't playing...she's always looking out for her, cleaning her, and is by her side at the slightest squeak. And when they play, even though Sophie outweighs Abbey 5 to 1, she's never yet even made her yelp...Sophie is in general quite gentle. Even when Abbey gets a total piranha lock on a cheek, ear or even poor Sophie's tongue, she just freezes until Abbey releases...never once snapping or retaliating for what is likely a painful bite with those super sharp puppy teeth! We're constantly amazed at how good they play together, and you can see how happy Sophie is having a playmate!

Anyway, here's a few more pictures from the last 2 weeks.

Here's a snoozing shot...she plays like mad and then just drops into a nap she's so tired.

In this shot I have a bowl of ice-cream (just outside of the camera view). This is MY view as I try to eat my ice-cream...what a bunch of moochers! They all LOVE ice-cream!

 This shot was just this Sunday as I was folding laundry. One moment she was standing up on the towels waiting their turn in the washing machine and peering into the dryer, and when I turned around to grab another armload to fold she was IN the dryer. She's very inquisitive and not really afraid of anything, including the vacuum cleaner! How many dogs can you say that about?

 I took this shot just this weekend. Sophie and Abbey were both totally tuckered out from playing and are napping on the couch. Sophie HAD her eyes closed but she heard me turn on the camera and peeked. Abbey is QUITE out of it, sleeping like the baby she is (now 12 weeks old).

 A few weeks ago I did a long Mt bike ride to check out some wildflower blooms that were going on out in one of our ecological preserves (I am allowed to bike thru it). This shot is just near my turnaround point, and is called Taylor Springs. The gate is for when ranchers have cattle (on the other side of the gate) so they don't get into the preserve land. That's my bike leaning on the gate, and in the background you can see the pens they have for the cattle (none in there THIS year thankfully!)

And here's a self photo I took a week ago when I did another long mt bike ride to check out some more of the big wildflower bloom in our Carrizo Plains. Due to all the rain we had this winter and spring it's been the biggest bloom we've had in a LONG time, and I thought I should check it out before it was gone. These flowers are about waist high, and it smells AWESOME!