Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Real McCoy

Thank you everyone for all the wonderful comments about my latest batch of swan pictures!  I had to laugh when a few of you called me the swan whisperer though.  I think that more than the swans coming to trust me, they simply got tired of me aggravating them, kind of like some crazy swan paparazzi!  So they simply posed for a few shots in the hope that I would be satisfied and disappear forever.

I hate to tell them, but once I get a better camera and a few L series lenses, I'll be right back out there looking for more shots...just don't tell them that!  Besides, they have almost a whole year to forget about me as they'll be migrating north soon.

Last night Mr. Tide and I decided to go out for dinner.  We had planned to go out on Valentine's Day but I just wasn't in the mood to fight the crowds, so instead I whipped up some spanish rice and we just hung out.  Yesterday, I realized that it had been a few days since I had gone anywhere and I decided it was time to head out and do some errands and grab a bite to eat.

There was a time in my life when I was in and out and racing up and down the roads constantly.  I drove my kids to and from school from the time our daughter was in pre-school at age 4 until she was in the 4th grade and my son was in pre-school, so I know a little something about running around and what it's like to spend almost as much time in your car as in your house.  But these days I can sometimes go for a few days without ever leaving the back forty so to speak.  If we have enough food in the house, and sometimes even when we don't, or I just don't have a need to go out, I stay put and just enjoy being in one place without any obligation to go anywhere.

Of course it doesn't hurt that Mr. Tide works from home 3 days a week so I have someone to talk to throughout the day besides the dogs.  After a few days though I go a little stir crazy and have to get up and outta here.  I don't have to go any place special, I just have to go...hit the open road and get a change of scenery.

I think that if I had unlimited cash I would become a bit of wanderer.  I could stay in any number of places, just not for too long.  I inherited this trait from my father I think.  He had this rule that you never came home the same way you went somewhere.  Now that's not an easy thing to do my friends when you live on a peninsula, but he always managed to make at least part of the return trip different from the outward journey.  This trait has served me well and I've seen all sorts of things I never would have if I'd always stuck to the same path.

Last night we didn't take any new routes, but we did go to Panera for a quick bite to eat.  I love the Fuji Apple Chicken Salad at Panera, it's my favorite!  And after dinner we decided we would buy a loaf of fresh bread and pick up something for breakfast.  I usually have toast or an english muffin with just a touch of butter and then a handful of walnuts for breakfast each morning, but today I indulged in a yummy muffin from Panera.  It was a carrot walnut muffin and it was quite delicious!  I couldn't eat something so rich every day for breakfast, but this morning along with a cup of Tazo "refresh" tea, it was perfect!

Before we went to Panera I called my dear friend "J" to see if I could stop by and drop something off.  I had a set of note cards I wanted to give to her and I also wanted to show her the proofs I got in the mail this week of the photos I'm having printed up on metal.

J is the real McCoy, the real deal, a true friend.  She gets me, and she is always there no matter whether I need to share good news or bad.  She and I have been friends since we met through our daughters when they were in the first grade together.  Together we endured countless field trips, class parties, and we both volunteered weekly in our daughters' classroom with a program called "Great Books."  The books sometimes were not that great, but our friendship always was.

My birthday was last December, and J and I were supposed to get together for lunch at a local tea room, but alas I wasn't feeling well.  I had a touch of the flu and needed to cancel.  Over the years J and I have come to find that when we actually try and plan something we inevitably jinx ourselves.  It's a running joke with us whenever we phone each other to set up a time to get together, we both end the conversations saying something like "well you know because we've set a date this is never going to happen right?!"

And so it goes, but it never matters, we always find a way to see one another eventually.  It's funny really, when we were younger and had small kids we were able to be somewhere on time, every time, but now, well it just seems harder somehow.  Mr. Tide and I had this conversation last night at dinner.  I commented as I looked around and saw people at Panera with small kids how we never ate out when our children were little.  Well we did, but not that often.  I made dinner every night, helped kids with homework, shuttled them to horseback riding lessons and saxophone lessons, gave them baths, still found time to make a perfect batch of jello jigglers, kept my house tidy, managed to read each child a story, and still found time to hang out with Mr. Tide when he was in town, since he traveled all the time back then.  Mr. Tide looked at me and simply said "well there wasn't any internet to take up all our time back then," hmm, maybe he has a point there!

Anyway, I digress, I wanted you to see the lovely Border Collie ornament that J gave me for my birthday.  I love it!  And it is so like her to find such a perfect gift for me!

The nice part about not getting together in December, is the fact that I got to have a little surprise birthday celebration last night in J's living room.  The other wonderful gift she gave me was this book called Old Dogs ...are the best dogs.

Of course J knows that I have an old dog of my own, and so does she.  She has the sweetest and tiniest dog I've ever seen, named Chloe.  J and her family rescued Chloe years ago, probably 15 years ago now...and they have no idea how old she was when they got her.  Chloe is blind and deaf now, but she is still just as sweet.  When I knocked on J's door last night I didn't hear Chloe bark, and I have to admit that my heart stopped for a moment, but she was just sleeping soundly in the kitchen.

This morning as I ate my pumpkin walnut muffin I flipped through the Old Dogs book and I have to say it brought me to tears.  J had forewarned me and said that I should "check my hormones," before reading it because it was sure to open the flood gates and start the waterworks.  She was right!

Just read this quote from the front of the book...

This is a tribute to old dogs, a celebration

of their special virtues. 

All dogs profiled in this book were at least 10 years old

when their portraits were made.  

If you ask us which of them are still alive, 

our answer is: They all are. 

May old dogs live forever.

All of us who have or have had an old dog would love this book which chronicles a group of special dogs 10 years or older.  My good friend Traci just lost her sweet "old" dog Greta recently, and I know she and her husband are feeling the void in their house after having her around for almost 15 years.  If you get the chance, please stop by her blog HERE and let her know that you understand the pain that comes with that sort of loss, I know it would mean a lot to her.  Her latest post isn't about Greta, but you can leave a comment anyway!

J also gave me a wonderful card that sums up just how I feel about all of my special friends, both human and furry.

"My friends have made the story of my life"...Helen Keller

I hope each of you has someone in your life who is the Real McCoy!  Thank you J, for everything!


  1. Unfortunately my Real McCoy friend lives very far away, but she's still the Real McCoy to me.

    Perfect book she gave you and I love the cover photo..... as for going places, I am a stay-put at home kind of gal too. I didn't used to be this way, but I think contentment in being home comes with age.


  2. "J" sounds like a very special friend and the book is wonderful...the poem brought me to tears as I think of the 4 sweet dogs who have left us as "old dogs" over the years... XO

  3. Oh what a glorious post, muffins and gifts and doggies. I too never take the same way home... ever.... and if I could I would not leave home for days either! Perfect friends quote. They do make the story of your life don't they. A-M xx

  4. no doggies here, but we housesit the neighbors' once in a while ...
    I WILL have a muffing tho ...

  5. such a sweet a touching post, and you pup shots could melt stone~

  6. Kat, what a lovely post! Your friend J does sound very special and I'm glad she is your friend! The Old Dog book would do me in too! I would be crying so hard I wouldn't be able to read it-LOL! I love the picture of your pup, she is getting so big and she is beautiful!!

  7. I teared up just looking at the cover of that book...I'd be a bawling mess after seeing what's inside.

  8. J sounds like a wonderful friend.
    Isn't it interesting how old dogs (and cats) are so wonderful and cute? We should look at each other the same way as we grow older!
    Our dog is 11.

  9. That last photo is real sweet. Don't you just love Real McCoys?

  10. What a wonderful picture on the front cover. Such wisdom in those eyes. Our new little girl "Molly" has arrived and we are in the midst of doggy orientation - not easy! I saw a glimmer of hope however last night when we walked the three of them down to the river. Those three little blue tails wagging in the breeze - made my heart sing. ;)Sharyne

  11. What a lovely post, Kat...thanks for sharing all of your images & thoughts.

    I'm SOOOO with you on the driving around all day thing! Was ALWAYS out in past years...and exhausted! Now, I stay home as much as I can--and love it! I save my shopping & other trips to come just before or just after I pick up my girls from the high much better this way!

    Hope your day is wonderful!


  12. Oh, glad to hear Chloe is still around. That's one thing that made me realize just how much Greta had changed in the last weeks of her life - someone would ring the doorbell and she wouldn't even seem to notice! In the past, she literally went crazy when the doorbell rang, so we would always try to intercept people before they got to the door :)

    Of course, the Old Dogs book made me tear up all over again (doesn't take much lately!). I've seen that book before and couldn't bear to get it. I wish the last sentence of that quote (May old dogs live forever) could actually be possible! Thanks for always being around to listen, whether it's about Greta or remodeling nightmares :) Give all your puppies hugs for me!

  13. ugh i could never ever read the book...i won't even watch movies that i think a animal is gonna die in it.....i know silly me....but that muffin looks grand! i have said before this june is 4 yrs that my boxer has passed and it seems lil easier but i miss her terribly every day so i know what your friend J is going through..

  14. beautiful pictures Kat, I cannot see how they could get any better!
    sorry for the loss of your friend's dog, I cannot even imagine...


  15. What a beautiful post Kat. I have the real McCoy as well but now she lives far away, actually closer to you now, but we talk almost everyday and I miss her so. As weird as I am at times, she understands and even laughs with me, sometimes at me but that is ok. :) I am so glad that you have a friend like that and I love the Helen Keller quote, how true. The old dog book would most likely make me cry because I have an old dog and have seen so many wonderful old dogs at work that have loved and lived and gave so much; they will never die. :)

  16. You and J are very lucky to have one another. Sadly, I can't say that any of my friends from my younger days spilled over into my older years. But I do have a large extended family that keeps me busy. I had to laugh when you mentioned going days without leaving the house. We are two peas in a pod. Sometimes I'm so darn content, I forget when I last was out!!

    The book looks really good although I get really emotional over pets getting just makes me sad. I don't know if I could read it. I lost my Shadow to old age and I am not looking forward to Milo or Layla getting old, but it's inevitable.

    So...are your swans headed our way?


  17. So much in this post! Old friends really a treasures, aren't they?
    I too enjoy my Tazo 'refresh' but my all-time favorite is 'calm'.

  18. How great to have a close friend for that long. That book looks wonderful so does the muffin. I love Panera.

  19. What a lovely post--covered a "bunch" of stuff, but all of it was interesting--always fun to read your blog ( I usually just skim most of them, but I really read yours). Love the Helen Keller quote. Mickie

  20. Lovely post. I'm lucky enough to have three real McCoy's in my life! Love the quote! I'm a quote kind of girl! I find inspiration in them! Have a lovely day!

  21. That is such a cool rule that you inherited from your Dad. And Mr. Tide really has a point there about the internet. What wisdom we get from our men! And the Old Dogs book, oh my goodness, thanks so much for sharing, just that little snippet was all I had to read to know I must get a copy of this one. xo ~Lili

  22. Kat- what a beautiful post- a true tribute to friendship - the tie that binds a friendship. She gave you some wonderful gifts-(love the ornament!) - but you also gave her a wonderful gift- your acknowledgement of how you feel. So often we don't tell the people we love how we really feel. That gift is priceless--
    Ps- we love Panera too!


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