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This And That

I didn’t have time to write a “real” post for today, so ….

•  My oldest son is still here.  It’s so nice to have him home.  I seem to be cooking a lot while he’s here.  He has several favorite mom-meal requests.  We’re also trying to get a lot of activities in before he heads back to North Carolina.

•  Fred is such a good puppy.  He gets easier every day as he learns more and more.  He’s sleeping so much better at night.  He’s also doing amazingly well on a leash.  I’m really proud of the progress he’s making.

•  Yesterday, Fred became curious about the orange tree.  Orange trees smell wonderful!

•  Fred has a very good nose.  I’ve had retrievers before, but their dog noses didn’t compare to Fred’s.  I think he could be a tracking dog … he has the most amazing sense of smell!

•  I haven’t had much time for TV watching, but I’ve (finally) finished Season III of Sons of Anarchy.  I’m hoping we get a rainy day sometime soon so I have an excuse to be lazy and watch TV for hours.  I also keep having dreams about hot biker guys.  Coincidence?

•  Remember, I told you about purchasing a pair of new boots?  Well, I’ve been meaning to follow-up and let you know they’re VERY comfortable even when worn for long periods.  I realize everyone prefers different things, but I would definitely recommend  Frye’s Melissa Button Riding Boot.

•  I can’t believe the Super Bowl is this weekend!  Where did January go?  I think I lost the entire month in my new-puppy-fog.

•  Fred has been busy practicing for  The Puppy Bowl  Super Bowl weekend.  He prefers his footballs deflated … just like Tom Brady?

I’ll try to get a few more photos of Fred today.

I’ve been busy with my son home, but I know a lot of you are really enjoying the Fred photos!

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January 28, 2015

It was so pretty here yesterday.

Click on photo to purchase, or to view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.

Two days ago we had rain, but yesterday was mid 70’s (23C) and beautiful.

Click on photo to purchase, or to view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.

Here’s a photo of Fred with his wet head from the rain the other day.

Fred thinks rain is fun.

He also loves the pool and the garden hose.

In fact, I think Fred could play with a hose for hours if I let him.

(It’s hard to explain the word drought to a 12 week old Newfie puppy.)

He looks very grown-up in the above photo, but Fred is not, at all, grown-up.

The evening after the rain storm, sunset (from my backyard) looked like this:

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I love “my” mountain so much.

I am, literally, counting down the days until Fred is fully vaccinated and able to go out shooting with me.

I’m getting cabin fever being at home so much.

I think Fred is restless too …

I bet he knows he’s got a lot of fun adventures ahead of him.

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Life With a Newfoundland Puppy

On Sunday night the Santa Ana winds roared through the canyon where I live.

They were loud.

For those of you who have never experienced nights in a Southern California canyon during the Santa Anas …

Well, my east coast and southern friends (who have) tell me “it’s worse than tornado winds.”

I’ve never been in tornado winds so I can’t say.

In any case, the sounds of the house groaning, debris flying outdoors, etc. must have kept Fred awake all night.

I say this, because Fred kept me awake all night.

By 6:05 a.m. (before the sun had risen), I collapsed on my couch in exhaustion.

At exactly 6:10 a.m. Fred, who apparently didn’t want to be ignored, brought me a box of kleenex and dropped it on my face.

“No, Fred,” I said weakly.

Fred barked at me and wagged his tail.

Fred was over his fear of the wind noises and was ready to play.

I left my family room back door open, for Fred to go in and out as he pleased, while I went to make coffee.

In the meantime, Fred discovered the wind had somehow unlatched the pool gate.

Fred went in the pool for a swim via the pool beach/ramp.

I discovered this minutes later … my freshly made coffee forgotten.

I made Fred get out of the pool and re-latched the pool fence shut.

Fred was dismayed with me.

What’s wrong with a morning swim after an all nighter?

Clearly, I am the least fun Newfie mom in the world.

“Oh, Fred!” I said for about the millionth time in a 24 hour period.

Fred promptly got over his dismay and snuggled into me, as close as possible, for love and cuddles.

Um … Fred was soaking wet.

“I LOVE you!” Fred seemed to say (his tail thumping wildly) in his eagerness to snuggle closer.

I sighed.

Obviously, I love Fred too.

I mean, I wouldn’t snuggle ANY wet dog, right?

Then Fred decided he’d show me his new trick.

He’s been listening, very carefully, to the coyotes each night.

They roam the hill right behind my house.

His ears perk up when they howl.

He decided to show me his best coyote imitation.

And, okay, maybe it was wrong of me to laugh.

But …?

Seeing twelve week old Fred try to do a coyote howl is a pretty funny sight.

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January 26, 2015

It was a really good, but busy, weekend.

Click on photo to purchase, or to view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.

I had a lot of family and friends visiting.

I love having my oldest son home for awhile.

I made my “world famous” lasagna on Saturday.

The bad thing about “my” lasagna?

It takes all day to make.

The good thing about it?

Everyone who has ever tried it swears it’s the best lasagna they’ve ever had.

The other good thing about it?

It feeds a big crowd.

Fred enjoyed having so many visitors to play with over the weekend.

Fred is doing very well … I can’t believe how big he’s getting.

I was too busy with a house full of people this weekend to take many Fred photos.

But …?

Fred is twelve and a half weeks old now.

He still has his puppy fluff which makes him look even bigger than he is.

His “looks” change daily … one day he seems wider and the next he seems tall and lanky.

He keeps impressing me with how quickly he learns things –

Although, sometimes what he’s learning is how to get tummy rubs from people he meets.

Everyone at my vet’s office has fallen in love with Fred.

(He’s absolutely fine … he’s just been at the vet’s office for routine puppy stuff.)

The heel of my shoe got caught in/on Fred’s gate last week and I fell … onto my brick floor.

The thing about indoor brick floors ….?

They’re great for taking the wear and tear of kids and dogs.

They are absolutely the worst thing to fall on though.

Almost the entire side of my right body is bruised badly … my ankle is swollen, and –

Of course, my bum arm is flipping out.

Paul Newman was not at all happy with me when he saw me on Friday.

(I hate it when he isn’t happy with me.)

I’ll be fine, but I have to admit I’m hurting right now.

But, that’s the other great thing about Fred …

When my arm feels this painful, it’s very calming to snuggle Fred.

And …?

Fred thrives on snuggles.

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Puppy In The Planter

It can be hard work to be a puppy.

All that eating and peeing and pooping …

Not to mention growing, and growing, and growing!

Sometimes a puppy just needs to catch a  cat  puppy nap wherever he can.

Puppy dreams must be the best dreams!

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Balls I’m Juggling

There’s always so much to do,

And never enough time!

I’ve been very unproductive during Fred’s first two weeks home.

Every day  he grows like crazy  we get a little more into a routine.

I purposely gave myself a few very light work weeks to coincide with Fred’s arrival.

Other things are going on in my life too, however.

My (North Carolina) son arrives soon for a week-plus visit.

We have lot of PLANS for his time here.

My son has also requested I make his favorite homemade lasagna while he’s home.

It takes a long time to make!

(But, it’s okay because requests like that always make my mom-heart smile.)

I’ve also been trying to listen to a LOT of music from various bands in preparation for a particular project I have coming up.

I love music, so having music playing is not anything new or different.

What is new and different, though, is having a long checklist of bands I want to get really familiar with.

Most of the bands I already “know” …

Meaning, I know at least a few of their songs.

But, I’m trying to get to know their music and personalities in more depth.

This is the type of preparation/research photographers due prior to an assignment that no one realizes we do??

In other news, I humiliated myself at a pet store this week.

I asked the 30-something hot, male, employee what bully sticks were made of.

Apparently, I’m the only person in the world who did not know this “dog treat” is bull pizzle.

Of course, I still didn’t “get it” and asked the hot guy what part of the bull is called a pizzle.

And then …?

And then, I turned fifty shades of red.

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Bulletproof Coffee – The Follow Up

I’ve been having *my* version of bulletproof coffee for nearly a week now.

There are several versions of this coffee “concept.”

If you missed my original post about this topic, you can read it by clicking here.

In “my” version, each morning I combine:

•  One mug of good quality coffee (probably one and a half measuring cups?)  I brew my coffee in a Jura, but many people use a french press.

•  Two tablespoons of Kerrygold (grass fed) butter.

•  One tablespoon fully dissolvable gelatin (because of my bum arm).

•  Two teaspoons of MCT oil  (I’m working my way up to one full tablespoon … but I’m not there yet).

•  One teaspoon of vanilla.

•  Optional:  sometimes I add a few drops of stevia, or a little cinnamon.

•  I blend the ingredients together in my Vitamix – making a “latte” type drink.

When I began this “test,” I was very surprised to find out my coffee concoction tastes good.

The idea of it sounded awful.

It was a pleasant surprise.

On my first day, I only used one teaspoon of MCT oil because I had been warned it can cause an upset stomach if you’re not used to it.

It has no flavor, so the taste was not an issue.

I did seem more alert and energetic on my first day but it might have been a coincidence.

I drank the coffee for breakfast instead of a meal.

When I was at PT at 11:30-ish that morning, my stomach began grumbling and I felt hungry.

I didn’t feel the drink had affected my appetite at all.

Paul Newman did comment I seemed a bit wound up (not in a bad way), and he didn’t know about my coffee experiment.

(I was cracking myself up a lot that day?!)

On the second day of my test, I increased the MCT oil to two teaspoons.

It didn’t bother my stomach at all.

I also noticed a definite decrease in appetite.

Did I have more energy?

I seemed to, but it might have just been Fred allowed me a little more sleep that night.

I felt unconcerned with food and had to remind myself to eat dinner that night.

On the third day of my test, I increased the MCT oil to a full tablespoon.

My stomach didn’t feel great.

I realized my body wasn’t ready for a full tablespoon of it yet.

I didn’t get sick, my stomach just felt upset.


Since then, I’ve reverted back to using two teaspoons of the MCT oil.

I feel perfectly fine using two teaspoons.

I plan to continue on with my coffee experiment for a little while longer.

I will probably try increasing the MCT oil back up to a tablespoon in a few days.

Have I lost weight?

I have no idea.

I never weigh myself and I wasn’t using this coffee drink as a diet.

I was just hoping for a little extra energy to get me through the early puppy days.

Would I recommend trying this drink?

I don’t think I’ve decided yet.

I like it enough to continue on awhile longer.

(I’ve never been much of a breakfast eater so I don’t miss a morning meal.)

I imagine different people are affected differently by “bulletproof” coffee.

For me, so far, it seems fine but not earth-shattering.

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Training Fred The Newf

Fred is eleven and a half weeks old.

Fred had no training before coming home a week and a half ago.

Fred has a LOT to learn.

Fred has also, already, learned a lot.

For instance, Fred is certainly not camera shy.

He might even ham it up for the camera?

Fred The Newf – eleven weeks old.

Today, I thought I’d share a little bit about what Fred and I are working on right now.

Of course, house training is an ongoing thing.

Fred knows where to “go” and usually let’s me know when he needs to go outside.

But …?

He’s still a baby and it’s also up to me to make sure he gets outside frequently.

(He only needs to go out ONCE in the middle of the night now …. a huge improvement over a week and a half ago!)

Fred has learned his crate is “his” room in our house.

He also understands his “cooling bed” which does not fit in his crate.

When he feels too warm, Fred goes to his cooling bed and plops his belly down on the cool surface.

Fred learned to sit within 24 hours of arriving home.

I also immediately taught him not to jump up on people.

Keeping all four feet on the ground is a MUST for a giant breed dog.

Fred is also working on learning to stay.

I don’t expect Fred to be able to “stay” for very long yet.

It sounds easy but Fred is still very young.

But, we practice several times each day.

Yesterday, I also began teaching Fred “down” for laying down.

I should have started that command earlier, but we’ve been busy just establishing our daily routine.

And, I can honestly say Fred has learned his basic daily routine now.

He reminds me when it’s meal time about 15 minutes prior to each meal.

It’s amazing he can do so, at only 11 weeks old, and with no iPhone alarm to remind him.

(Fred’s meal times are on my iPhone alarm to remind ME!)

Fred has learned to wear a collar.

Fred is learning to walk on a leash … and doing a pretty good job of it.

I try to practice walking him on a leash twice a day – in my backyard and around the house and in my (very small) front yard.

(Fred is still restricted to my house and yard due to the resurgence of parvo in California.)

Fred is learning I expect him to be in a heel position when he’s on a leash.

He’s also learned not to pull on the leash.

Fred, occasionally, still wants to play tug of war with his leash.

(Did I mention he’s a puppy?)

Fred has gotten used to daily brushings and only sometimes tries to eat the brush.

I’m also getting him used to his grooming table and the noisy blow dryer ….

Although, he doesn’t really need either quite yet.

Fred has learned to retrieve items and to “drop” them for me when I ask him to.

Fred has learned to walk up and down a “pet ramp.”

I began by having the ramp flat on the ground and then gradually raised it.

It’s important Fred be able to walk on a ramp, without a fear of heights or a fear of the ramp itself.

I can’t lift Fred one-armed.

And, even if I had two good arms, I wouldn’t be able to lift Fred for very long.

Fred is growing quickly.

Fred uses the ramp to get in and out of the car.

(Fred has a separate travel crate that stays in the back of my car all of the time now.)

Practicing on the ramp also prepares Fred for walking on/over bridges and other “high” places.

Fred thinks the ramp is great fun.

In fact, Fred thinks we are playing when we practice all the things he’s learning.

I try to make his training a fun game.

Fred gets a lot of praise and yummy treats.

Really, the most difficult part of having a puppy is waiting for him to get through his parvo vaccine schedule.

Life will be so much easier when I can take Fred places with me.

At that time, he will also be able to socialize much more, take a puppy class or two, etc.

It can be challenging to keep Fred busy all of the time just here at home.

Fred will get his second parvo vaccine at the end of this week.

There are six more weeks until Fred can go everywhere with me.

I can’t wait to be able to train him in a variety of places/situations.

He’s such a smart guy –

It’s going to be fun.

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The Weekend in Snippets

•  Did you watch football yesterday?

I did.

I want to apologize to all of you with cold weather.

I got chilled just watching the games.

•  We are getting beautiful winter sunsets here.  People don’t often realize the “best” sunsets in Southern California are usually in the winter months.

Click on photo to purchase, or to view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.

•  Fred is growing like a weed.  Having a puppy means I’m getting up a lot earlier in the mornings now.  (I’m more of a night owl by nature.)  I took this silhouette iPhone photo of Fred at dawn.

It gives a little glimpse of what Fred will look like when he grows up.

Profile shots do that.

But, Fred is still just a baby.

He’s such a good puppy.

He’s so smart.

I’ve always had (sort of) hyper puppies in the past.

(Retrievers – which I love.)

Fred is so very calm in comparison … very busy, but very calm.

And Fred is adorable, of course.

He likes to “talk” a lot.  He doesn’t bark much, but it seems like he’s trying to talk at times.  The more time we spend together, the better we’re getting at understanding each other.  For example, when Fred starts getting whiney and naughty I know he’s tired and going to take a nap soon.  It’s like having a two year old again except it’s a puppy instead of a baby.

•  Today will be my fourth day of having “bulletproof” coffee for breakfast.  Since I wrote my post last week, I’ve been informed a “Bulletproof Coffeehouse” is scheduled to open in Santa Monica.  An entire coffee shop devoted to coffee made with butter instead of cream!  I’ll give you my thoughts on my butter-coffee experience in a post this week.

•  There were at least fifty hummingbirds in my backyard yesterday evening at sunset.  I think my yard is the official hummingbird hub of Southern California … it really is amazing how many congregate here.  Sometimes Fred gives a half-hearted jump in their direction.  I think he knows he doesn’t have a prayer of catching one.

It’s only January 19th, but I’m pretty sure the arrival of so many hummingbirds means it’s spring.  The male hummingbirds are fighting over the females.  The birds are mating, building nests, etc.

I think it’s going to be a very early spring here.

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Monkeying Around With Fred The Newf

Fred had a babysitter for a few hours yesterday.

I needed time out of the house to catch up on everything I’ve fallen behind on since Fred arrived.

I returned in the afternoon and Fred was ready to play.

I think we both missed each other.

We decided to spend the rest of the afternoon just monkeying around.