Finding New Hobbies

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As this year has gone on, I found myself needing some new interests. Unfortunately, very little appealed to me.

I finally set the following criteria:

  • It could not require hours behind a computer. I spend all day in front of a screen for my job and I can’t do it at home all night and weekend too. I love my camera as a means to take a walk, but hours of post photo processing are not fun.
  • I wanted something physically active. It didn’t have to be anything hard core, but I wanted something that was more than sitting around (see the first point above).
  • I also wanted something where I could grow and learn, something where I could take classes, ask questions, and experiment to a higher knowledge level.

I settled on:

  • Using my Big Green Egg (BGE) smoker more and
  • Doing yoga more consistently.

The Big Green Egg forum is a great place to learn more about how to smoke. I’ve also been experimenting with recipes that are not for grilling or smoking. Our local sporting goods store has two employees in the BGE section that don’t mind answering questions when I come in, which is especially helpful when I’m not understanding something from the forum. There are also classes that I plan to take next year.

As for the yoga, I’ve been using an on-line subscription to Yoga International. As with any class, some instructors are better than others with extra instructions of how to do it. I’ve learned a lot watching the videos closely and listening to the do this, be careful not to do that, etc.

Do you like this picture above? As we head into Christmas, the television is full of commercials that what a woman really wants is jewelry (lingerie, new car, etc.). Nah. What some women want is a second, smaller smoker and a hoodie Carhartt sweatshirt to wear on the days it’s cold out there. Something washable that can get wrecked by grease and soot when I’m reaching into the grill to clean it or fill it with charcoal. Something washable when I brush the dogs and get enough hair to clone another one.

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It’s hard to see in this picture – but the beagle has lost a lot of weight. His diet is finally working and each time we walk, the harness gets tightened up a bit more.

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Of course, he can still pop it over his head anytime he feels like it. Thankfully he’s a good boy and just sits in the middle of the road as I put it back on him. I’ve tried several harnesses on him and he does it with all of them. He collapses those shoulders, digs in those big paws, and off it comes.


Half and Half

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So what happens when I go in the yard to take pictures? A miniature pinscher goes on full alert to guard me as I carelessly walk around the yard, oblivious to all the dangers that could be out in the street – like Mom’s pushing strollers and worst of all, old Grandma’s taking a walk and minding their own business. He will protect me!

What I liked about the photo was how it divided his face in half, which is also the theme of this week’s photo challenge, which was to share an image that has two clear halves, literally or figuratively. To see how others interpreted the challenge, click here.


Beagle Reporting on the Backyard

Hello kind and gentle readers! It’s me, the beagle, reporting on what’s happening around the backyard. Mom and Dad took down the garden last year. They said it was too much work for what they got out of it. Plus there was a little problem with destruction. Apparently one of the dogs kept playing in it.

And when the tomatoes ripened, the mockingbirds and squirrels ate them up.

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Happy Mother’s Day

I love my Momma!

I love my Momma!

Happy Mother’s Day from one of my four-legged children, who gave me a card this morning with the most affectionate thing he could think of – “My Momma”. Yes, I’m his Momma and his reason for living. When I’m going in and out of the back door – say to use the grill – he dashes out in front of me to take up his vigil and watch the street on my behalf. Because clearly my husband the other two dogs are not up to the task of taking care of me.

Scanning. . . scanning. . . scanning. . . any danger?

Scanning. . . scanning. . . scanning. . . any danger?

I hope you’ve enjoyed your day! My two-legged child gave me a set of lenses to use on my iPhone, so I will be busy experimenting with them this week. She’s a good kid, isn’t she?


A Walk With Mom

Playing with my favorite toy - the squeaky soccer ball

Playing with my favorite toy – the squeaky soccer ball

Dear kind and gentle readers – yes, it’s once again me, the beagle.

I’m really liking Mom being home during the day.  Why?  Because she’s taking me for a walk nearly every day.  Oh such joy – I get to check pee mail!  Poop on the neighbors lawns!  And best of all, I’m finding all kinds of things to eat.

I go along, nose to the ground, when suddenly I get a whiff of something.  The other day at the park, I took off into the woods, shuffling through leaves that were nearly halfway up my short little legs.  Mom let the retractable leash out, not dreaming that I was on the scent of something yummy until I snatched up a stale bun.  Whoa – did she ever reel me in.  Worse yet, she dug it out of my mouth and told me I was a bad boy.  Then she threw it back into the woods.  I got the last laugh though.  As we walked away, I turned around, snatched it back up and nearly got it down before she dug it out of my mouth again.  ** sigh **  I was so close to eating it too.

I’m keeping a pretty good trot out there!  Mom’s getting a brisk walk in and so am I.  In fact, the other day she texted Dad that I was acting wild.  So she walked me around the entire park.  THE WHOLE PARK.  I could barely make it back to the car!  In fact, we were nearly there and I just ran out of mojo.  She finally coaxed me back to the car and then – this is so embarrassing – she had to boost my butt up into the car because I was too tired to hop in.

Where's the beagle next door?  I'll find him yet!

Where’s the beagle next door? I’ll find him yet!

For some reason, her and Dad found it incredibly funny when we get home.  Just because I stood there in the hallway, swaying on my feet and trying to sleep while keeping an eye on Mom.  Because I knew she was getting ready to take my brother, the Vizsla, out for his walk.  How dare she?  Those walks are for ME.  NOT him.  She left despite my vigilance and I made sure to howl and sob so she could hear me all the way out to the street.  Yeah, until Dad yelled at me to stop.  Hey!  I’m entitled to ALL the walks!  Who knows what I’m missing out there!?!?!

I slept the rest of the day.  In fact, I might have been snoring.  Dad complained about having trouble hearing the television, although more likely it was my brother.  I’m sure it couldn’t have been me.

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New Year, New Routines

The beagle, Vizsla and miniature pinscher.  Do you have a treat?

The beagle, Vizsla and miniature pinscher. Do you have a treat?

This week’s photo challenge is new – something new for me in 2015 (to see how other photographers interpret it, click here).

What better for this than a picture taken New Year’s Day?  One of the first of the year.  I didn’t have much time for it – just seconds later, they were running over to see if I had a treat to share with them, like this:

Oh the joys of photographing pets!

As I settle into unemployment and looking for a new job, I’m developing new routines.  I haven’t written about routines for a while (see my last post here).  What I like about routines is the structure it gives to a day and how the many small decisions that are needed don’t have to take up much  mental space.  At the same time, routines need adjustment to keep them useful.  So along with job searching, what else is new in my routine?

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Common Enchantment

Vizsla sleeping on the couch, where he is NOT supposed to be.

Vizsla sleeping on the couch, where he is NOT supposed to be.

We wait, starving for moments of high magic to inspire us, but life is full of common enchantment waiting for our alchemist’s eye to notice.
– Jacob Nordby / Author, Speaker, Coach

We had a wonderful time visiting the kids in Atlanta.  My daughter is doing well, sprouting along in her 7th month of pregnancy.  My son-in-law is also doing well and like good husband’s everywhere, has learned to let it slide when his wife’s hormones kick in and she snaps at him.  Her father also got snapped at and he too just backed away.

As for me, she complained about how uncomfortable she is, how bad her heartburn is, and how junior won’t stop kicking her, especially at night.  As nicely as I could, I turned around, put a pleasant look on my face and said, “payback’s a bitch”.  She was not amused.

I started some steps towards a job search before I left and spent today doing a great deal more.  I’m still not settled into a routine nor have I been nurturing my creativity.  But late last night I wanted a simple project, so I processed up a sleeping dog.  The Vizsla is getting so gray!  He turned ten years old this month, so there is a reason for all the gray.

I was looking for a quote to match the picture, when I found the one above.  One thing my blog is full of are ordinary moments in a day.  Dog pictures, the backyard, walking at the local botanical garden are all part of my portfolio.  I have some spectacular pictures too – Acadia National Park, Harper’s Ferry (West Virginia), Charleston (South Carolina).  But my life is limited by my job and my time.  If I don’t find enchantment right here where I’m at, my life will be small and miserable.  I love the high magic as much as anyone, but it’s not realistic nor is it something to be seeking.

I need to notice the enchantment that is around me right where I’m at.  I need to enjoy and appreciate my life, whether buying groceries with my husband or talking to a recruiter about possible job opportunities here in town.  What better way to enjoy the little things than to pet a sleeping dog, stroke those soft ears, and maybe even get a little grunt of contentment from him?

Life is good.

To see other photos of the Vizsla, click here.