blog news, travel

Just one month to go before it’s time to travel…

The featured photo was taken in February 2018, when we visited the Czech Republic and stumbled across a really cool Soviet era airplane museum. I trust Lufthansa will have more comfortable planes when we fly next month.

I don’t have a lot to write about this morning. Bill and I had a very nice weekend together. It’s great to have him home again. We made a video for younger daughter, and Bill talked to his mom on Skype. I talked to mine a few days ago and wished her a Happy Mother’s Day then.

I meant to watch Eurovision, since we finally got local TV, but I forgot it was on and hung out with Bill in our dining room, where we drank wine. 😉 Sweden won the contest. Maybe I’ll look for it on YouTube, but I find that Eurovision is more fun to watch live. We used to be in the habit of watching every year, even when we didn’t live in Europe. There were a couple of years we happened to be vacationing in Europe in May, when Eurovision airs.

Since today is May 15th, that means that it will soon be time for us to hop on a plane and go to Norway for a week before we get on our cruise in Sweden. Our flight to Oslo is on June 16th. I’m really looking forward to this trip, for so many reasons. If it goes well, maybe we’ll get back into traveling like we did pre-pandemic. Maybe I might even be persuaded to go back to the United States.

I find that I still love to travel, but as I get older, I don’t have the stamina I used to have. It’s too bad, since we have more money now than we did when we were younger. I just find nowadays that I value my alone time more. I think we’ll enjoy the cruise, but I also think I enjoy land based vacations more. We’ll see how we like Regent, though. It’s definitely going to be different for us.

When I told my mom about our trip, she said it sounded great… for us. I know kind of what she means. Mom is going to be 85 years old this year, and I think traveling is exhausting for her now. It’s tiring for me, and I’m only 50. But I love to see new places, try new things, eat different foods, and meet new people (within reason).

Then, after our big trip, it may be time to get a new dog… 😉

Sorry today’s post is kind of brief. I’m still kind of tired this morning. I woke up at 3:00AM and couldn’t get back to sleep. I feel drowsy as I type this, and I think I’ll probably need a nap sooner, rather than later. So, I think I’ll sign off, practice guitar, walk Noyzi, and crash for an hour or so. Maybe I’ll write more later… but I probably won’t. I need some inspiration.

dogs, family

Arran’s first family…

Next week at this time, if all goes well, we will have a new family member to welcome. As I write this, our new dog’s rescuer is in Kosovo, getting several dogs bound for Germany vet checked. Next weekend, we plan to drive to Slovenia to pick up Noizy. He’s a big boy… bigger than any other dog we’ve had so far. I am a little apprehensive about how Arran will react to him, and how Noizy will adapt to us. But not counting the unfortunate dog that we failed to adopt in the spring, he will be our sixth rescue, and the only one who isn’t a beagle mix of some kind.

I don’t know if I ever mentioned this before, but our dog, Arran, was adopted once before we took him from Triangle Beagle Rescue out of North Carolina, which was where we lived when he joined the family in January 2013. Arran’s predecessor, MacGregor, had died a week before Christmas in 2012. We usually get new dogs soon after losing one. This past year with just Arran in the house is unusual for us.

Until a couple of days ago, I knew very little about the people who had taken Arran before we did. We were told that his first family lived in Charlotte, North Carolina. They were a couple, and the female half was an attorney. They kept him for about nine months before they returned him to the rescue. Apparently, his separation anxiety was more than they could handle. Or, at least I think that was what we were told. We were also told that they called him Marley.

Arran and Zane got along pretty well. They were about the same size and close in age. Both liked to play. Since I stay home most of the time, we never had any really serious problems with Arran and separation anxiety. In fact, I’d say he’s probably been one of the easiest dogs we’ve had yet. Zane was also pretty easy, once we got him housebroken and he quit chewing everything up. Zane was a year old when we got him, while Arran was about four.

The day Arran and Zane met. As you can see, the tails were going fast and furious!
Zane and Arran the day of the adoption.

Anyway, I happened to run across a blog post written by the guy who was fostering Arran, at that time called CD, when the first couple took him. He included a picture of the couple, along with their first names. They’d also had a female beagle named Sydney. From that post, it wasn’t hard at all to find the couple all over the Internet. They are quite different than Bill and I are.

I would guess that the couple is quite a bit younger than we are. When they adopted Arran, they weren’t married, but I soon found a wedding site for them from 2015. The photographer mentioned that their dog was involved with the wedding, too. I’m assuming that was Sydney.

They are Black, and very attractive. Indeed, the wife is a lawyer, while I’m not sure what the husband does. She’s very active in her community and does African dance. He looks like he’s a lot of fun. I found many photos of them dressed up as if they were going to costume parties.

I got the sense that this couple isn’t home much, mainly because they appeared to be busy. I also found out that last year, the wife had a daughter. I guess I can see why Arran didn’t work out for them. He’s probably a little too needy.

I look at Arran and see how much he likes to snuggle with us, especially Bill. I see how even at his now advanced age, he occasionally has accidents in the house. For example, this morning, he left us a nice pile in the living room. Sometimes, I still find wet spots on one of my favorite rugs, although he’s gotten much better in the past year. I know how he vocalizes when I pet him in certain areas, sounding like he’s having an orgasm. He’s not been as noisy since we lost Zane. Zane would often get him riled up. But he’s not totally quiet, either. He also has a little bit of a temper, although he’s generally very sweet, lovable, and agreeable.

People often criticize folks who rehome their pets. In fact, I remember the couple who fostered Arran when we took him (different than the guy who blogged) were kind of disgusted with Arran’s original family. They kept him for nine months and the decision to bring him back to the rescue probably was traumatic for him. He has always been a very sensitive dog who needs reassurance that he’s secure. But when I see how much Arran adores us both, especially Bill, and how happy he is now, I realize that the decision to surrender Arran was probably one of kindness. I also appreciate that they were good enough to bring him back to the rescue, as they agreed when they adopted him, rather than giving him to someone else, ditching him at a shelter, or turning him loose in the woods.

I was also kind of surprised by how easy it was to find these folks, just based on a photo, first names, and a city location. I know a lot more about them than I probably should… but then, I guess people know a lot more about me than they should, too.

I’m so glad we have Arran. I hope he and his new brother will get along. It’ll be a big adjustment, especially since the new dog is a big boy, quite young, and will have to be trained. But at least it’ll give me something constructive to do as COVID-19 ramps up again in Europe. Hopefully, he and Arran will get along and Arran can teach him a few tricks.

I still really miss Zane, but I don’t miss seeing him sick. I like to think the dogs who have gone to the Rainbow Bridge inspire the next ones who come into our lives. Maybe that seems a little ridiculous, but I like to imagine it. There were many days when Zane reminded me so much of his predecessor, Flea, who was probably the only purebred beagle we’ve had.

A new era is about to begin. I wish I’d brought that rug to Germany.


I went to bed, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg died…

I woke up this morning to the very sad, but not completely unexpected news that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died at age 87 after suffering from cancer. She was an incredible, tenacious, brilliant woman. There’s not a lot I could write about her that hasn’t already been written. She truly was a phenomenal person with true grit, and I know she hung on for as long as she possibly could.

Of course, since she has passed away, a new Supreme Court position is now suddenly open, and Trump and Mr. Turtlehead Mitch McConnell are going to do their best to fill it before the election in November. I can only hope and pray that people get out and vote blue. I know a lot of people are just as for Trump as I am against him, but I am truly very concerned about the future if he wins another election. I may just give up if he wins.

In other news, yesterday my aunt wrote to everyone in the family to let them know that our annual Thanksgiving shindig is canceled. I really can’t blame her for canceling. She has suffered from cancer since the 1980s and is up there in years. We also have a number of other elderly relatives who shouldn’t be hanging around large groups of people, spreading germs.

Bill and I weren’t planning to go to Thanksgiving anyway, since we’re in Europe. There was a time when I really loved the annual family gathering, but I haven’t felt welcome among most of my family members in many years. And, to be honest, I have no desire to take a long plane trip anywhere, especially now.

Depending on what happens in a few weeks, the gathering would have either been extremely obnoxious because Trump won or very somber because he lost. My family members are mostly dogged Trump supporters, which is a main reason why I don’t feel comfortable with them anymore. They’re also the type of people who can’t have a rational conversation about politics.

Last night, Bill and I were talking about what we’re going to do in the coming weeks. We are due to pick up our new canine family member in just a couple of weeks, but we’re warily eyeing the borders due to the COVID-19 situation, which is getting worse here. To be honest, I won’t be surprised if the trip has to be postponed. I am looking forward to having a new dog, though… it will be a bright light after many tough months… though I fully admit my months haven’t been nearly as tough as many other people’s have.

Take, for instance, my cousin, who has been a professional musician in Nashville for the past several years. Because of COVID-19, he pretty much lost his ability to work. He’s also a big Trump supporter. Last night, he posted about how angry he is because the mayor of Nashville has shut down the music scene. Or… that is what I gather, based on my cousin’s rantings and wishes that the country would “get back to normal”. He thinks the COVID-19 numbers are “inflated” for political reasons.

I truly feel for my cousin. I know how much he loves what he does. He’s super talented and really has the perfect disposition for being an entertainer. It does concern me, though, that he thinks that COVID-19 numbers are being artificially inflated and that things aren’t as serious as they are. It seems to me that he has a very America centric perspective. If COVID-19 were just a thing in the United States, maybe I could get on board with his complaints. But COVID-19 has been a bitch all over the world and a lot of people have died or become seriously disabled due to this virus. And it SUCKS for everyone. Indeed, his mom even canceled Thanksgiving because of COVID-19. She doesn’t want to turn our annual family gathering into a superspreader event. I can’t blame her. But I do empathize with my cousin. I know he wants to get back to work.

I know I would like to get back to traveling normally and being able to write in my travel blog about my adventures. Speaking of which, I haven’t decided if I will go to Slovenia with Bill yet. There are some worries we have about how to integrate our “family”– to include our sweet Arran, who has been a real comfort since we lost Zane last year and throughout this COVID-19 mess. I want him to like his new bro. I worry about how they’ll be in the car together, as well as crossing borders to get to Slovenia. I am also worried about how his rescuer is going to get him out of Kosovo, but she knows a lot more about this stuff than I do. I assume she has a plan.

Well, it’s time for breakfast, so I’m going to close for now. I may be back later with a book review. I am itching to write one about my latest reading material… it may be epic. It may not. We’ll see.