Friday, December 12, 2008

A "Beary" Nice Visit

This morning I woke--rather late, I say sheepishly--to gray overcast Illinois skies. Quite a change from yesterday when I woke before dawn to this view:

What the photos don't tell you is that in the first scene there were snow flurries swirling about on this chilly day, and in the second scene once the sun rose completely, it warmed the day up to a pleasant--though chilly day by Arizona standards--64 degrees. Needless to say, I'm suffering a little culture/weather shock today.

Click here to see more Skywatch Friday photos. I didn't add my name to the posts there, however, because this post isn't really about my photos of the sky. I returned home early yesterday evening after spending a week in Arizona, visiting my daughter and her boyfriend, who, I am sad to say, will not be coming home for Christmas this year. My trip gave me the opportunity to also meet my new granddog for the first time.

This is Bear, a lovable 6-month-old puppy. Yes, I did say puppy--you may recall my posting a few pictures of him earlier this year and explaining that he is a Mastiff, which is one of the largest breeds of dogs there is. Bear weighs almost 90 pounds now, but his Daddy weighs 200 pounds, so one can only imagine how big he will be the next time I get to see him!

Bear seemed to take to me right away, although I noticed that there really isn't anyone he doesn't like. He is still definitely a puppy with some puppy "issues" that my Daughter is working on, including trying to eat forbidden things like the garbage and paper when they are out. One day when she and I were out shopping, Bear grabbed the People magazine I had brought along to read on the plane and ate several pages. Apparently he didn't agree with some of their choices for "Sexiest Man Alive." (Neither did I, to be truthful.) And on the morning of my departure I found him in my bedroom pulling out a paper from my carryon--my plane ticket! I like to think he didn't want "Grandma" to leave:)

The week gave me plenty of quality time with my new grandson, including attending puppy school with him and my daughter. This evening's lesson included learning the commands "Bed" (funny, I don't have a problem with that one), "Heel," and "Stay." Bear seemed to understand these commands fairly well, although he had a problem with attention, often being distracted by his girlfriend in the class, Macie. In the photo above, Daughter was practicing a few of the commands in the aisles of Pet Smart when she decided to check out a new bed for him. Although Grandma was eager for gift ideas, we both decided this, the largest bed they had, would soon be outgrown in a few months.

On Saturday we took both dogs to the local dog park. This was a new experience for me! I like dogs, but I'm used to one or two or three at a time, not a whole area full of all breeds of dogs running free and playing rather boisterously with each other. Bear loved it, while Odie the pug preferred to sit on the sidelines after awhile.

Afterwards, we were all ready for a nap.

While Daughter and I were busy with several activities, time had to be taken each day for walking the boys, of course. Odie, the pug, used to live with us, so we renewed our acquaintance during my visit, and occasionally I would walk him while Daughter or Boyfriend walked Bear, who is still learning to be polite for inexperienced--and weaker--leaders like myself.

I learned that not only are birds difficult to photograph, but so are dogs. Daughter wanted a nice "family" portrait in front of her newly decorated Christmas tree, but as you can see, Bear and Odie didn't quite understand the concept of "Sit" and "Stay" at the same time. I think she might have to hire a professional photographer for a good Christmas card photo:)

Of course, Bear will pose for treats!

Or sit still by himself if "Grandma" snaps the camera very quickly. I did get a few nice photos of the family--Daughter, Boyfriend, and the "boys"--outside their apartment, but without her permission to use them here.

Grandma still has the touch, though, of keeping the kids in line for a moment at least.

I had a wonderful week with my daughter and her family; since all the rest of my family lives close by, it is hard to have her so far away, but it does give me an excuse to travel more often. We did a lot of shopping and visited some interesting places. Once I've sorted out all my photos, I'll have much to show you in later posts--a good thing, since there certainly isn't anything blooming in my garden!


  1. Bear is one big puppy! Perfect name. It’s so nice to put a face to your words and a happy one at that. I love your new header photo too.

  2. Rose, you've come out of hiding! But I thought that puppy was going to pull you right off the bench. He's going to be huge.

    It is hard to kids so far away. We will have them all here for Christmas, but I know that will be a rare treat. I hope we can get a picture of everyone together.

  3. Yeah for visits and grandelephants. lol. I remember the initial posting. I do hope his training is going well. And sure he didn't want grandma to leave. It was nice seeing you and welcome back, what a change.

  4. Oh, Rose, I like dogs more than I like gardens--what cuties Bear and Odie are--but how does Odie like Bear? That desert sunrise is gorgeous. I'm not sure what your horizons are like at home, but our woods are dense--I just love the big sky in Arizona. We leave Thursday and I can't wait.

  5. Rose, what a delight to see you on the other end of the camera! You are one of the reasons I will miss Illinois. I had hoped to meet you sometime this spring, either in Chicago at the Spring Fling Thing or at the U of I gardens. I guess you will have to come down to NW FL sometime. You can see my grandson and my granddog here! The garden, well, that's another story. A year away can wreak havoc, even though daughter has been doing her best to keep up with weeding and other chores. Welcome home, Rose!

  6. My, hie is big! But he looks so loveable. I know it was arude awakening this morning to get up to snow. Welcome back to our life.:) I am so happy you had a good visit with E. and M. and of course the grand dogs. I know you miss her not being close. But as you said, it does give you a good reason to travel! Glad you are back and the plane didn't crash!

  7. Hi Rose,
    How nice that you got to visit your daughter in Arizona. I don't know if you remember that I also have a daughter living there. She's loving the weather at this time of year. Glad you got to go and get warmed up a bit. And by the way, what a HUGE puppy:)

  8. A very lovely post! Bear looks like he is going to be enormous, but he seems good natured. Nice to see your picture, too!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  9. Hi Rose, nice to have you back safe and sound. I am glad you had a good visit with daughter and her boyfriend (and dogs of course.) It is hard when family is away. Arizona looks wonderful. I visited there once a few years ago. Don't remember any palm trees. I do remember lots and lots of red rocks.
    Bear looks really sweet. I think it's really a good idea that they are taking him to doggie school. You can't just pick him up if he doesn't obey.
    Can't believe he actually got your plane ticket! Of all the papers to chew-oose!

  10. Sounds like quality time away from home with your daughter, dear Rose. Handsome portrait of puppy Bear (love his smile)!

  11. Sarah, this "puppy" is as big as our late Roco was when he was full-grown!

    Joyce, Yes, I decided after 9 months of blogging that there weren't any internet predators stalking me:) I think Bear could have pulled me off the bench if he'd tried! We managed to get a family photo with my parents when Daughter was here in August; so glad we took the time to get it done.

    Tina, Thanks. Daughter is such a dog-lover; if anyone can handle a big dog, she can.

    Cosmo, They are both sweeties. Odie is the best-natured dog; he can get along with anyone, but he has learned to put Bear in his place when necessary, which is really quite funny. Enjoy your trip!

    W2W, I wasn't sure if you were coming back to Illinois or not. I hope there's some way you can make it to the Spring Fling. I wish now I'd made the effort to meet up with you before you left for Florida.

    Beckie, It was a rude awakening this morning, but at least I didn't have to clean house today, thanks to Hubby. And from now on I will listen more carefully to what the flight attendant is saying:)

    Flydragon, Hi, and thanks for visiting. I know I stopped by your blog at some point and may have commented about your daughter...The past month has been a busy one, and I have gotten so far behind in blog reading; sorry. Daughter loves the weather this time of year in Arizona, too; summers are another story:)

    Carol, Thanks; mastiffs are supposed to be very gentle dogs. Good thing considering how big they are!

    Wendy, Phoenix has palm trees, but I know the landscape differs in different parts of the state. Last time out I went to Sedona, which is about an hour north, where they have beautiful red rock formations. Yes, I'm glad Bear is going to puppy school; otherwise he could be very difficult to handle at his size.

  12. I totally agree with Sarah! Both the doggies look adorable!

  13. It is fun to see you and your Granddogs Rose. Bear and Odie are a cute pair. They are the same color but not near the same size. I bet Bear was Odie's size when they brought him home. Both has very distinctive faces. I can't wait to hear more about your trip.

  14. You do take good pictures and it is lovely to see you all! What a massive *bear* dog you have. Hard to control I should imagine.
    I do empathize with you about having one of your children live so far away. However, you are able to travel to them, which can make a lovely break. It was difficult when my son, wife & grandchildren lived in Japan. They are going again this Christmas for 2 weeks but at least I won't have that awful feeling of not knowing when I shall see them again.
    Hope you have a lovely time with all your family over Christmas & look forward to photos.

  15. So that's what you look like :)
    I love those big dogs. There used to be a program on PBS about a vet who had a Mastiff. He was a "gentle giant." A Mastiff and a cute they are together.

  16. That's a wonderful picture of you and the "granddogs". Sounds like you had a wonderful visit Rose. Bear looks absolutely adorable and so does Odie.

  17. What great lovable granddogs you have! And I love seeing a picture of you too! Looks like you had lots of fun.

  18. You new header photo is beautiful Rose. Nice to see a photo of you with your granddogs. I can put a face with a name now. :) Your sky photos were lovely too! Glad you got the seeds & I'll keep an eye out for yours after the holidays. Have a nice weekend.

  19. Oh Rose, your grandpuppy is huge! I know you told us this earlier, but, he is something else. There is no way anyone can physically restrain him, so your daughter is smart to take him to puppy school! My son's 75 lb dog can pull me over when we walk!

    Isn't it a treat to visit our grown child in their home and environment....We get to see them as adults and not the kid who comes home and easily slips into "mom can you (fill in the blank)?" I am glad you had a good visit with her since she can't make it home for the holidays.

    Your sky shots are wonderful...How delightful to have 65 degree weather after the frozen Illinois prairie! I am glad you had a good time. Welcome home. The word verification looks and sounds like go easy.

  20. Rose, the two dogs made a great pair! Sort of 'mix and match'!!
    Lovely photo of you too, so nice to 'meet' you :)

  21. I'm glad you're back safe and sound after a good visit! Bear looks like such a sweetie. I can't imagine a dog that weighs 200 pounds! Looks like he's going to take after his father.

    Love the photo of you - you look very happy :)

    I popped your prize in the mail on Saturday. I'm not sure how long it will take to reach you,but hopefully in time for Christmas!


  22. Dear Rose,
    So happy you had a wonderful trip and are safe and sound in your home. Holiday travel can be so tiring. You choose a great week to visit your daughter. I understand missing the kids.
    Stay warm and cozy!
    Big storms coming to my house...

  23. Oh Rose, what a nice visit you had with your daughter. If she has to live far away, at least it is good she lives in a great climate to visit.

    That big dog is adorable.

  24. Dear Rose.....I love this post....I have always had a rapport with dogs......Bear is indeed a beautiful boy....mastiffs are a loyal and devoted breed. Little pug is a sweetie and seems to be very quiet.......

    Although your daughter is far away, you probably have quality time with her. Making the most of each moment.

    Lovely to see a photograph of have a lovely smile.....and the dogs seem to know who is boss.....

  25. Joey, I did have a lot of quality time with my Daughter. Thank heavens, though, for cell phones and the internet to keep in touch the rest of the time.

    Chandramouli, Thanks--they're both sweeties.

    Lisa, Bear was smaller than Odie when they first got him. Odie is the best-natured pug, but he holds his own with Bear.

    Maggie May, It's been hard to have Daughter so far away, but cell phones and the internet do help. We'll miss her at Christmas, but the grandkids here will help make it easier.

    Balisha, The mastiff is supposed to be a very gentle dog; Bear is, though he still has some puppy rambunctiousness.

    Susie, Thanks. My daughter likes me to refer to them as my grandsons:)

    Cindy, I did have a lot of fun; now it's back to the reality of getting everything ready for Christmas--I have so much left to do!

    PG, I've always been a little hesitant before about putting my photo here, but decided only nice people read my blog:)

    Gail, It is different to visit your grown child in their home--although I did some dishes to help out, Daughter did all the cooking and wouldn't let me do much. It actually was a vacation!

    Suburbia, the two dogs actually are about the same color, which was kind of funny. We met lots of people interested in them while on our walks.

  26. Amy, Thank you for everything. By the next time I get to see Bear he will undoubtedly be even bigger!

    Sherry, Spending time with family is very important to me; glad I was able to visit with Daughter before Christmas. We have a storm forecast for here, too.

    Meems, I had never been to Arizona before she moved there, so it gives me an excuse to go some place warm in the winter:)

    Cheryl, Thank you; I am quite a dog lover, too, but Daughter is the one with the biggest heart--she would have a whole house full of rescue dogs, if she had room. It was great to be able to spend so much time with her.

  27. My friend Carole loves her granddogs as well, one of whom is a st. bernard, and the other two of whom are great pyrenees. Another friend also has pug, named Otis. Both Odie and Otis are great pug names. When I visited my niece in CO we took her dogs to a dog park. My cats think all of this is fine, so long as I never bring a dog home.
    ~ Monica

  28. Hi Rose, the Grandma shot at the end was the best ever! You look so happy with the boys, and in charge, really. :-) What a delightful read this was. I had kind of forgotten about Bear and Odie. So glad you got to visit your daughter, and wish she was closer for you to see her more often.

  29. You have a lovely grandpuppy. Aren't you glad that you don't have to feed him? I'll bet the dogfood budget is larger than the people food;)

  30. Hi Rose:)
    Just wanted to stop by after you told me you can't leave comments on my blog. Now that is strange...I don't have any idea why. If you try again let me know sometime, so I will try to figure out if something is going on. It was nice of you to let me know on blotanical. Thanks so much for your visit to my plot there! Jan

  31. Monica, My husband had St. Bernards when he was young and is trying to convince me to get one now. Odie/Otis is from "Milo and Otis," I think, isn't it?

    Frances, I was happy, but only pretending to be in charge:)

    Marnie, Daughter would cut back on her own groceries to be able to feed the "boys":)

    Jan, So glad you got my message. I felt bad, because I have been reading your blog, but kept getting an error message when I tried to leave a comment. Maybe it's my computer...I'll keep trying.

  32. It looks like you had a wonderful trip! Bear seems like a big sweetheart. I bet he's going to be a great dog (literally & figuratively) when he grows up.


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